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the  Class  of  1901 

founded  by 





expressly  for  Jfalland's  "£ife  of  .Lincoln. '. 












*  AND 



I  HAVE  undertaken  to  write  a  biography  of  Abraham  Lin- 
coln for  the  people ;  and,  although  they  will  be  certain  to  learn 
what  I  have  accomplished  and  what  I  have  failed  to  accom- 
plish in  the  book,  I  cannot  consent  to  pass  it  into  their  hands 
without  a  statement  of  what  I  have  aimed  to  do,  and  what  I 
have  not  aimed  to  do,  in  its  preparation.  I  am  moved  to  this, 
partly  by  my  wish  that  they  may  not  be  disappointed  in  the 
character  of  the  effort,  and  partly  by  my  desire  that,  in  making 
up  their  judgment  upon  the  work,  they  may  have  some  refer- 
ence to  my  intentions. 

First,  then,  I  have  not  aimed  to  write  a  History  of  the  Re- 
bellion. Second,  I  have  not  aimed  to  write  a  political  or  a 
military  history  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  administration.  Third,  I 
have  not  aimed  to  present  any  considerable  number  of  Mr. 
Lincoln's  letters,  speeches  and  state-papers.  Fourth,  I  have 
not  attempted  to  disguise  or  conceal  my  own  personal  partial- 
ity for  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  my  thorough  sympathy  Avith  the 
political  principles  to  which  his  life  was  devoted.  Though 


unconscious  of  any  partiality  for  a  party,  capable  of  blinding 
my  vision  or  distorting  my  judgment,  I  am  aware  that,  at  this 
early  day,  when  opinions  are  still  sharply  divided  upon  the 
same  questions  concerning  principles,  policies  and  men,  which 
prevailed  during  Mr.  Lincoln's  active  political  life,  it  is  impos- 
sible to  utter  any  judgment  which  will  not  have  a  bearing  up- 
on the  party  politics  of  the  time.  Thus,  the  only  alternative 
of  writing  according  to  personal  partialities  and  personal  con- 
victions, has  been  writing  without  any  partialities,  and  with- 
out any  convictions.  I  have  chosen  to  be  a  man,  rather  than 
a  machine ;  and,  if  this  shall  subject  me  to  the  charge  of  writ- 
ing in  the  interest  of  a  party,  I  must  take  what  comes  of  it. 

I  have  tried  to  paint  the  character  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  to 
sketch  his  life,  clinging  closely  to  his  side ;  giving  attention  to 
cotemporaneous  history  no  further  than  it  has  seemed  necessary 
to  reveal  his  connection  with  public  events ;  and  re-producing 
his  letters,  speeches  and  state-papers  to  no  greater  extent  than 
they  were  deemed  requisite  to  illustrate  his  personal  character, 
to  throw  light  upon  specially  interesting  phases  of  his  private 
life  and  public  career,  to  exhibit  the  style  and  scope  of  his 
genius,  and  to  expose  his  social,  political  and  religious  senti- 
ments anl  opinions.  In  pursuing  this  course,  I  have  been 
obliged  to  leave  large  masses  of  interesting  material  behind 
me,  and  to  condense  into  the  briefest  space  what  the  more 
general  historian  will  dwell  upon  in  detail. 

From  much  of  the  history  of-  Mr.  Lincoln's  public  life,  to 
which  his  future  biographers  will  have  access,  I  have  been 
excluded.  The  records  and  other  evidences  of  his  intimate 


connection  with  all  the  events-  of  the  war  for  the  preservation 
of  American  nationality,  are  in  the  archives  of  the  War  De- 
partment; and  they  are  there  retained,  only  to  be  revealed 
when  the  present  generation  shall  have  passed  away.  The 
Life  of  Washington,  even  though  it  was  written  by  a  Mar- 
shall, with  the  abundant  access  to  unpublished  documents 
which  his  position  enabled  him  to  command,  or  which  it  was 
the  policy  of  the  government  to  aiford  him,  waited  half  a 
century  for  Irving,  to  give  it  symmetry  and  completeness. 
The  humbler  biographers  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  though  they  satisfy 
an  immediate  want,  and  gather  much  which  would  otherwise 
be  forever  lost,  can  hardly  hope  to  be  more  than  tributaries 
to  that  better  and  completer  biography  which  the  next,  or 
some  succeeding  generation,  will  be  sure  to  produce  and 

I  have  no  opportunity,  except  that  which  this  page  affords 
me,  to  acknowledge  my  indebtedness  to  those  who  have  as- 
sisted me  in  the  collection  of  unpublished  materials  for  this 
volume.  I  have  been  indebted  specially  to  William  H.  Hern- 
don,  Esq.,  of  Springfield,  Illinois,  for  many  years  Mr.  Lincoln's 
law  partner,  who  has  manifested,  from  the  first,  the  kindest 
interest  in  my  book;  to  Newton  Bateman,  Esq.,  Superintend- 
ent of  Public  Instruction  in  Illinois;  to  James  Q.  Howard, 
Esq.,  United  States  Consul  at  St.  John,  New  Brunswick;  to 
Hon.  John  D.  Defrees,  Superintendent  of  Public  Printing  in 
Washington ;  to  Hon.  Henry  L.  Dawes,  of  Massachusetts ;  to 
Horace  White,  Esq.,  of  the  Chicago  Tribune ;  to  IT.  F.  Linder, 
Esq.,  of  Chicago;  to  J.  F.  Speed,  Esq.,  of  Louisville,  Ken- 


tucky;  to  Judge  S.  T.  Logan,  Hon.  Jesse  K.  Dubois,  Rev. 
A.  Hale,  and  Hon.  Erastus  Wright,  old  neighbors  and  friends 
of  Mr.  Lincoln  in  Illinois;  to  Rev.  J.  T.  Duryea,  of  New 
York;  and  George  H.  Stuart,  Esq.,  of  Philadelphia.  To 
these,  and  to  the  unnamed  but  not  forgotten  friends  who 
have  aided  me,  I  return  my  hearty  thanks. 

Putnam's  "  Record  of  the  Rebellion "  has  proved  itself  an 
inexhaustible  fountain  of  valuable  and  interesting  .facts ;  and  I 
have  been  much  indebted  to  McPherson's  History  of  the  Re- 
bellion, the  best  arranged  and  most  complete  collection  of  pub- 
lic documents  relating  to  the  war  that  has  been  published.  I 
have  freely  consulted  the  campaign  biographies  of  Messrs. 
Scripps,  Raymond,  and  Barrett,  to  the  excellence  of  which  I 
bear  cheerful  testimony.  Among  other  books  that  have  been 
useful  to  me,  are  Nichols'  "Story  of  the  Great  March," 
Coggeshall's  "  Journeys  of  Abraham  Lincoln,"  Schalk's 
"Campaigns  of  1862  and  1863,"  and  Halsted's  "Caucuses  of 
1860."  Carpenter's  "Reminiscences,"  published  in  the  New 
York  Independent,  and  an  article  by  Noah  Brooks  in  Harp- 
er's Magazine,  have  furnished  me  also  with  some  very  inter- 
esting materials. 

Hoping  that  the  volume  will  be  as  pleasant,  instructive  and 
inspiring  in  the  reading  as  it  has  been  in  the  writing,  I  present 
it  to  my  indulgent  friends,  the  American  people. 

J.  G.  H. 

SPRINGFIELD,  MASS.,  November,  1865. 





Birth— Daniel  Boone  and  the  Pioneers  of  Kentucky— Abraham  Lincoln,  the  Grand- 
father of  the  President — His  Removal  to  Kentucky,  and  Death— His  Brothers  and 
Sons — Probable  Origin  of  the  Lincolns— Thomas  Lincoln,  the  Father  of  the  Presi- 
dent—His Marriage — His  Children — The  Mother  of  the  President — Early  Education 
of  Abraham  Lincoln— His  Schoolmasters— Zachariah  Riney — Caleb  Hazel — Religious 
Habits  of  the  People — Parson  Elkin— Slavery  in  Kentucky — Defective  Land-titles 
— Removal  ot  Thomas  Lincoln  to  Indiana,  ........  .-y 17 



Lincoln's  early  Industry — His  Schools — Simplicity  of  Border  Life — Death  of  his  Mother 
—Her  Funeral  Sermon— Her  Influence  upon  his  Character— His  early  Practice  of 
Writing— His  Books— Anecdote  illustrating  his  Honesty— His  Father's  second  Mar- 
riage—Anecdote illustrating  Mr.  Lincoln's  Humanity — He  builds  a  Boat — A  Fact 
for  the  Psychologist — He  takes  charge  of  a  Flat-boat  for  New  Orleans — His  Con- 
test with  seven  Negroes— He  sells  the  Boat  and  Cargo,  and  returns  on  foot — His 
Kental  Development — His  Moral  Character, , 87 


Marriages  in  Thomas  Lincoln's  Family — Marriage  and  Death  of  Abraham's  Sister — 
Removal  of  Thomas  Lincoln  to  Illinois — Difficulties  of  the  Journey — Abraham  as- 
sists in  building  a  Log  House  and  in  splitting  Rails— He  leaves  Home— Works  for 
hire,  Chopping  Wood  and  Farming— Anecdote — Thomas  Lincoln  removes  to  Coles 
County— His  death— Abraham  goes. to  New  Orleans  with  a  Cargo  of  Swine— He  is 
employed  in  a  Store  at  New  Salem — Anecdotes  illustrating  his  Honesty — His  Pun- 
ishment of  a  Bully— His  Adventure  with  the  "Clary's  Grove  Boys" — He  studies 
KngMsh  Grammar — Attends  Debating  Clubs— Anecdote — His  Employer  fails,  and 
the  Store  is  closed— Mr.  Lincoln  is  called  "Honest  Abe," 38 

10  TABLE     OF     CONTENTS. 



Black  Hawk — His  Treachery — Governor  Reynolds  calls  lor  Volunteers— Lincoln  enlists 
— He  is  chosen  Captain— His  Popularity  with  the  Soldiers — Forced  Marches — 
"Stillman's  Defeat" — Flight  of  the  Indians — Volunteers  Discharged — Lincoln  re- 
enlists — Capture  of  Black  Hawk— Lincoln's  Speech  on  General  Cass— Mr.  Lincoln 
becomes  a  Candidate  for  the  Legislature — He  is  Defeated — Purchases  a  Store,  but 
fails  in  Busines"— Is  appointed  Postmaster — Anecdote  illustrating  his  Honesty— He 
becomes  a  Surveyor, 48 



Mr.  Lincoln  was  a  Self-made  Man — Loyal  to  his  Convictions— Marked  and  Peculiar — 
Anecdotes — He  was  Kespeeted  and  Loved — A  Man  of  Practical  Expedients— Anec- 
dote— Mr.  Lincoln  was  a  Religious  Man — His  Faith  in  Divine  Providence — His  Log- 
ical and  Reasoning  Powers— He  was  Child-like, 58 



Mr.  Lincoln  contemplates  the  Study  of  Law — He  begins  to  make  Speeches — Elected  to 
the  Legislature  in  1834 — Commences  the  Study  of  Law — Goes  on  foot  to  the  Capi- 
tal— Returns  to  the  Study  o'  Law  and  to  Surveying — Re-elected  to  the  Legislature 
in  1836 — Speech  at  Springfield— The  "Long  Nine" — Distinguished  Men  in  the  Leg- 
islature—Change of  the  State  Capital — Mr  Lincoln's  first  meeting  with  Stephen  A. 
Douglas — Pro-slavery  Resolutions  adopted — Protest  of  Abraham  Lincoln  and  Dan 
Stone — Anecdote «.....,,.,.., 64 


MR.    LINCOLN    AS    A    LAWYER. 

Mr,  Lincoln  becomes  a  Law-partner  of  Ma^or  Stuart,  and  removes  to  Springfield — Re- 
elected  to  the  Legislature  in  1838— Pol-fca.  Parties  in  Illinois — Mr.  Lincoln's  Stories 
— The  Member  from  Wabash  Countv— "  R'd:ng  the  Circuit  "in  Illinois — Mr.  Lin- 
coln's Ability  as  a  Lawyer — His  Repaid  for  Justice — Mr.  Lincoln  and  the  Pig — His 
Power  as  an  Advocate — His  "Colt  Case"  in  tne  Circuit  Court— His  Exception- 
able Stories— His  Regard  lor  Poor  Relatives, 7fi 


Mr.  Lincoln  Re-elected  to  the  Legislature  in  1840— Strange  Incident  in  his  Life— He 
Accepts  a  Challenge  to  a  Duel— Forms  a  Law-partnership  with  Judge  Logan— His 
Marriage— His  private  Letters— His  LovaHv  to  Party— Anecdote  illustrating  his 
Generosity— Political  Contest  of  1844— Mr.  Lincoln  a  Candidate  for  Presidential 
Elector— He  Canvasses  the  State— Defpat  cf  Mr.  Clay— Mr.  Lincoln  visits  him  at 
Ashland— Anecdotes  illustrating  Mr,  Lincoln's  Courage— Anecdote  illustrating  his 
strong  Party  Feeling,  ............. ,  .  .  87 


Mr.  Lincoln  nominated  for  Concress  in  1846—  He  "Stnmp°"  his  District— Elected  by  a 
larjre  Majority— His  fitness  for  the  Position— The  old  \Vr.ig  Party  and  the  Mexican 
War— Mr  Lincoln's  Resolutions— Mr  Hudson  s  Resolm. on— Mr.  Lincoln's  Speech, 
January  12th,  1843— Defense  of  the  Postmaster-general — Mr,  Lincoln  a  member  of 

TABLE     OF     CONTENTS.  11 

the  Whig  Convention  of  1848— Advocate?  the  nomination  of  General  Taylor— Speech 
in  Congress  on  the  Candidates  for  the  Presidency— Correspondence  with  the  Whig 
Leaders  in  Illinois— Speeches  during  the  Canvass— Second  Session  of  (he  Thirtieth 
Congress— Mr.  Lincoln's  Position  on  the  Slavery  Question— He  seeks  for  the  Posi- 
tion of  Commissioner  of  the  General  Land  Office,  but  fails, 99 



Mr.  Lincoln  returns  to  the  Practice  of  his  Pi  ofession— His  Affection  for  his  Children— 
His  Absent-mindedness— He  Studies  Euclid— His  Mechanical  Skill — Anecdotes  il- 
lustrating his  Practice  of  Law — Opiri<  ns  of  Judge  Caton,  Judge  Breese,  Judge 
Dmmmond,  and  Judge  Davis— Mr.  Lincoln's  Eulogy  on  Henry  Clay— Admission  of 
Cahformaas  aFree State — ''Compromise  Measures"  of  1850 — Electionof  Mr.Pierce 
to  the  Presidency — Repeal  of  the  Missouri  Compromise, and  Passageof  the  Kansas- 
Nebraska  Bill — Judge  Douglas  and  Popular  Sovereignty— Meeting  of  Douglas  and 
Lincoln  at  Springfield— At  Peoria— Extract  from  Mr.  Lincoln's  Speech  at  Peoria — 
Overthrow  of  the  Democratic  Party  in  Illinois— Election  of  Mr.  Trumbull  to  the 
United  States  Senate, fi-l 



Affairs  in  Kansas— Border  Ruffians— Letter  of  Mr.  Lincoln  to  Mr.  Speed— State  of  the 
Slavery  Question — Mr.  Lincoln  attends  a  State  Convention  at  Bloomington — Repub- 
lican Party  organized  in  Illinois — Mr.  Lincoln's  Speech  at  the  Convention— Mr.  Lin- 
coln a  Candidate  for  the  Vice-presidency  at  the  National  Republican  Convention 
of  1856 — Speech  at  Charleston,  Illinois— Speech  of  Mr.  Douglas  at  Springfield — Mr. 
Lincoln's  Reply— The  Lecompton  Constitution — Position  of  Mr.  Douglas, ..  .  .  144 



Sketch  of  the  previous  History  of  Stephen  A.  Douglas — Mr.  Lincoln's  Opinion  of  him — 
Mr.  Douglas  opposes  the  Lecompton  Constitution — Democratic  State  Convention — 
Eastern  Republicans  favor  Mr.  Douglas'  Re-election — Views  of  the  Republican 
Party  in  Illinois— Republican  State  Convention— Resolution  on  the  Dred  Scott  De- 
cision and  the  Power  of  Congress  over  the  Territories — Mr.  Lincoln  Nominated  for 
United  States  Senator — His  Speech  before  the  Convention — Speech  of  Mr.  Douglas 
at  Chicago — His  Misrepresentations  of  Mr.  Lincoln — His  Views  on  the  Dred  Scott 
Decision — Mr.  Lincoln's  Reply— Illustrations  of  his  Tact  and  Wit, 154 



Mr.  Lincoln  proposes  to  Mr.  Douglas  a  Joint  Canvass  of  the  State— Mr.  Douglas  de- 
clines, but  proposes  Joint  Debates  in  seven  Districts— Mr.  Lincoln  cotrmences  his 
Canvass  of  the  State— His  Reply  to  Douglas'  Charge  of  Falsehood— Meeting  of 
Douglas  and  Lincoln  at  Ottawa— Mr.  Douglas'  Charges,  and  Mr.  Lincoln's  Replies- 
Extract  from  Mr.  Lincoln's  Speech— Their  Meeting  at  Freeport— Lincoln's  Reply 
to  the  Questions  of  Douglas— His  Questions  to  Douglas— Answers  of  Douglas,  and 
Lincoln's  Rejoinder — Triumph  of  Mr.  Lincoln  in  the  Popular  Estimation — Objects 
of  Mr.  Lincoln  in  the  Campaign— Mr.  Douglas  Re-elected  Senator  by  the  Legisla- 
ture,  179 

12  TABLE     OF     CONTENTS. 


Mr.  Lincoln  in  the  Winter  of  1858-9  delivers  a  Lecture  on  the  Hi.-tory  of  Inventions — 
His  Popularity  at  the  West— Letter  to  Dr.  Canisius  on  Naturalization  and  Fusion — 
Reception  by  the  State  Convention  at  Decatur — The  Presentation  of  the  Kails  from 
Macon  County — Mr.  Lincoln's  Visit  to  Kansas— Extract  from  his  Speech  at  Leaven- 
w.  rih — He  Visits  Ohio — Speaks  at  Columbus  and  Cincinnati — Extract  from  his 
Speech  at  Cincinnati — Popular  Sovereignty  Doctrine  of  Mr.  Douglas— Mr.  Lincoln 
Visits  New  York — Speaks  at  Cooper  Institute — William  C.  Bryant  presides  at  the 
Meeting — Great  Ability  and  Research  displayed  in  the  Speech — Extracts— Mr.  Lin- 
coln Visits  the  Five  Points  Mission — Goes  to  Connecticut,  and  speaks  at  Hartford, 
New  Haven,  Meriden,  &c. — His  great  Success  as  a  Speaker — Anecdote  related  by 
Rev.  J.  P.  Gulliver— Mr.  Lincoln  Visits  his  Son  at  Cambridge,  and  returns  to  Illi- 
nois,   19S 



State  of  the  Country  in  1860 — Southern  Leaders  Preparing  for  Secession — Knights  of  the 
Golden  Circle — Church  and  Press  at  the  South — Cobb  and  Floyd — Opinions  at  the 
North — Democratic  Convention  at  Charleston— Mr.  Yancey  and  the-  Fire-eaters'' — 
Division  of  the  Convention— Both  Factions  Adjourn  without  making  Nominations — 
National  Constitutional  Union  Convention  at  Baltimore — Bell  and  Everett  nominated 
— Breckinridge  nominated  by  the  Fire-eaters,  and  Douglas  by  the  regular  Democratic 
Convention— Mr.  Lincoln's  Story— Republican  Convention  at  Chicago — Prominent 
Candidates  for  the  Nomination — The  Party  Platform— Balloting  for  President— Nom- 
ination of  Lincoln — Enthusiasm  of  the  Convention  and  of  the  Spectators— Disap- 
pointment of  Mr.  Seward's  friends— Reception  of  the  News  at  Springfield— The 
Committee  of  the  Convention  visit  Mr.  Lincoln— Speech  of  Mr.  Ashmun,  the  Chair, 
man— Reply  of  Mr.  Lincoln — His  Letter  Accepting  the  Nomination, 216 


Mr.  Lincoln  visited  by  Multitudes  of  People— Anecdotes — The  Prospect  for  the  Future 
— Mr.  Lincoln's  Views  of  the  Duties  of  Christians  and  Ministers — His  Conversation 
with  Mr.  Bateman — His  Religious  Faith  and  Convictions— Apparent  Contradictions 
in  Character — The  Election  of  Mr.  Lincoln  Regarded  ascertain— Course  of  the  South- 
ern Leaders — Silence  of  Mr.  Lincoln  during  the  Campaign — Election  of  Mr.  Lincoln 
— Popular  Rejoicing  at  the  North,  and  Exasperation  at  the  South — Feeling  of  the 
Republican  Party — Effect  upon  Mr.  Lincoln — An  Optical  Illusion— Visit  to  I'hicago 
— Anecdotes  illustrating  Mr.  Lincoln's  Love  of  Children — "Cal  inet-making'1 — Mr. 
Lincoln's  Views, ; 232 



Enormity  of  the  Rebellion— Floyd— Black— Buchanan— Secession  of  several  States- 
Forts  and  Arsenals  seized — Position  of  Mr.Stanton  and  Mr.  Holt — Attempts  to  con- 
ciliate the  South— Condition  of  the  Country— Mr.  Lincoln  leaves  Springfield  for 
Washington— His  Farewell  Speech — His  Speech  at  Indianapolis— Journey  to  Cin- 
cinnati—Speeches at  Cincinnati — Reception  at  Columbus— At  Pittsburg— At  Cleve- 
land—At Buffalo— At  Albany— At  Pougtikepps'e— At  New  York— At  Trenton— At 
Philadelphia— Plot  against  the  President's  Life— His  Speech  at  Independence  Hall 
— Reception  at  Harrisburg— Journey  to  Washington, 249 

TABLE     OP     CONTENTS.  13 


The  Procession— Reception  of  the  President  by  the  People— The  inaugural  Address- 
Cabinet  Appointments— Rebel  Sympathizers  in  Office— Mr.  Lincoln's  pacific  Policy 
— Arrival  of  Rebel  Commissioners  in  Washington— Surrenderor  Fort  Sumter—  Effect 
upon  the  North— Proclamation  of  the  President— Response  of  Massachusetts— At- 
tack upon  the  Troops  in  Baltimore— Proclamation  declaring  a  Blockade  of  Rebel 
Ports— Position  of  Virginia— Secession  of  Virginia,  Tennessee,  North  Carolina,  and 
Arkansas— Response  to  the  Call  of-the  President  at  the  North  and  West— Mr.  .Doug- 
las's Visit  to  Mr.  Lincoln— His  Devotion  to  the  Country— Speeches  in  Illinois— His 
Sickness  and  Death, ^?? 


Important  Military  Operafons— Washington  Relieved  from  Danger— Fortress  Monroe 
Reinforced— The  Government  Works  at  Harper's  Ferry  Blown  Up  and  Abandoned 
—Occupation  of  Cairo— Rebel  Congress  assembled  at  Montgomery— Message  of 
President  Davis— President  Lincoln's  Call  foradditional  Troops— Affairs  in  Missouri 
—General  Butler's  "  Contraband"  Order— Battle  of  Big  Bethel— Death  of  Colonel 
Ellsworth— Battle  of  Bui  Run— Agreement  between  Buckner  and— Po- 
sition of  the  Government  in  reference  to  Slavery— The  State  of  Western  Virginia 
Organized— Battles  of  Laurel  Hill  and  Rich  Mountain— Special  Session  of  Congress 
—Message  of  the  President— The  Majority  of  Congress  sustain  the  Government- 
Mr.  Crittenden's  Resolution—  H  fleet  of  the  President's  Inaugural  and  Message— Ap- 
pointment of  General  McClellan  to  the  Command  of  the  Ai-my  of  the  Potomac,  30 5 



Results  of  the  Bull  Run  Battle— Foreign  Relations — Seward's  Instructions  to  Minister 
Adams — To  our  Ministers  at  other  European  Courts— Belligerent  Rights  of  Rebels 
recognized  by  England  and  France — Sympathy  of  England  with  the  Rebellion— J. 
C.  Fremont  appointed  Major-general— Battle  of  Wilson's  Creek— Condition  of  Mis- 
souri— Fremont's  Proclamation— Lincoln's  Letter  to  Fremont — Modification  of  Fre- 
mont's Proclamation— Letter  of  Hon.  Joseph  Holt — General  Fremont  and  Colonel 
Blair — Charges  against  Fremont— General  Grantoccupies  Padncah.  Kentucky — Sur- 
render of  Colonel  Mulligan — General  Fremont  takes  the  Field— He  is  superseded 
by  General  Hunter— General  McClellan  and  the  Army  of  the  Potomac— General 
Butler  captures  the  Hatteras  Forts—  Munson's  Hill  occupied  by  the  Rebels— Battle 
of  Ball's  Bluff— Resignation  of  General  Scott— Visit  of  the  President  and  Cabinet 
to  General  Scott— Appointment  of  General  McClellan  to  the  Chief  Command- 
Victory  at  Port  Royal — Victories  of  General  Grant  in  Missouri  and  General  Nelson 
in  Kentucky — Instructions  to  General  Butler  on  the  subject  of  Slavery 324 


Capture  of  Mason  and  Slidell  by  Captain  Wilkes — Difficulties  with  England — Letter  of 
Mr.  Seward — Release  of  Mason  and  Plulell — Session  of  Congress — Message  of  the 
President — The  Question  of  Slavery— Mr.  Lincoln's  Regard  for  the  Constitution  and 
the  Laws — He  Recommends  Gradual  Emancipation— Conference  with  Members  of 
Congress  from  the  Border  States — Address  of  the  President — The  Confiscation  Act 
— Abolition  of  Slavery  in  the  District  of  Columbia— Letter  of  Mr.Greeley — Reply  of 
the  President— Mr.  Cameron's  Resignation— Appointment  of  Mr.  Stanton— Mr.  Lin- 
coln's Story, ' 339 

14  TABLE     OF     CONTEXTS. 

CAMPAIGNS   OF   1862. 

General  McClel'an  and  the  Army  of  the  Potomac — Blockade  of  the  Potomac — Order  of 
the  President  for  a  grand  Movement  of  the  Armies  of  the  Union — Order  to  the 
Army  of  the  Potomac— General  McClellan  advises  a  different  P'an  from  that  pro- 
posed in  the  President's  Order — Mr.  Lincoln's  Reply  to  McClellan—'s 
Plan  Adopted— Evacuation  of  Manassas— Orders  of  the  President— Organization  of 
Army  Corps— Blenker's  Division  ordered  to  |oin  Fremont— Banks  to  attack  Jack- 
son—McDowell's Corps  retained  for  the  Defen^eof  Washington— McCiellan  at  York- 
town — McClellan  complains  of  the  Inadequacy  of  his  Force — Correspondence  be- 
tween McClellan  and  the  Authorities  at  Washington — General  Franklin's  Division 

sent  to  General  McClellan — Evacuation  of  Yorktown— Battle  of  Wilhamsbiirgh 

Battle  at  West  Point — Correspondence  on  the  Subject  of  Army  Corps— Mr.  Lincoln's 
"Little  Story" — Capture  of  Norfolk— McClellan  still  Clamorous  for  Reinforcements 
—Defeat  of  Banks— Defeat  of  the  Rebels  at  Hanover  Court-House—Battle  of  Fair 
Oaks—  Further  Correspondence— The  "Seven  Days' Fi^ht,"  and  Retreat  to  James 
River— McClellan's  Advice  to  the  Government— The  President  at  Harrison's  Land- 
ing—The Army  of  the  Potomac  returns  to  Alexandria— Failure  of  McClellan  to  Re- 
inforce General  Pope— The  Rebels  cross  the  Potomac— General  McClellan  appointed 
to  the  Command  of  the  Army  in  Virginia— Battles  of  South  Mountain  and  Aniietam 
— General  McClellan  ordered  to  pursue  the  Rebels — Stuart's  Raid— President's  Let- 
ter to  General  McClellan— The  Army  a<  ross  the  Potomac— McClellan  relieved  of  his 
Command— His  Character— General  Burnside  appointed  to  the  Command— Defeat 
at  Fredericksburg— Capture  of  Roanoke  Island— New  Orleans  surrendered  to  Gen- 
eral Butler— Military  Affairs  at  the  West, 353 



Mr.  Lincoln's  Proclamation  in  pursuance  of  the  Confiscation  Act— Fernando  Wood's 
Letters,  advising  Negotiation  with  the  Rebels— The  President's  Replies— Mr.  Lin- 
coln's Letter  to  Mr.  Hodges— Mr.  Carpenter's  Account  of  the  Emancipation  Procla- 
mation— Cabinet  Meeting— Opinions  of  Messrs.  Chase.  Blair  and  Seward— Mr.  Bout- 
well's  Account— The  Preliminary  Proclamation  issued— Its  Reception  by  the  People 
— General  McClellan's  Order  to  the  Army — The  Emancipation  Proclamation  of 
January  1st,  1863— Proclamation  suspending  the  Writ  of  Habeas  Corpus— Criticisms 
upon  it— Circn  lar  Letter  of  the  President  on  Sabbath-breaking  in  the  Army— Letter 
to  Governor  Shepley, 387 


PAIGNS  OF   1863. 

Colonization  Schemes  of  the  President— Compensated  Emancipation  recommended— 
Bill  for  Enrolling  nnd  Drafting  the  Militia— Financial  Measures  of  Consress— Opin- 
ions of  the  President— Western  Virginia  admitted  to  the  Union— Representatives 
from  Louisiana  admitted  to  Congress— Peace  Agitations— Course  of  Vailandionam 
of  uhio— His  Arrest  by  General  Burnside— Decision' of  Judge  Leavitt—  VaMandig- 
ham's  Trial  and  Sentence— Sentence  modified  bv  the  President— Letter  r.l  Gov- 
ernor Seymour — Vallandigham  nominated  for  Governor  by  the  Democratic  Con- 
vention of  Ohio— The  Committee  of  the  Convention  visit  the  President — The  Pres- 
ident's Rpplv  to  thpfr  Letter— Resolutions  of  the  Albany  Meeting — The  President's 
Reply— Universal  Suspension  of  thf>  WTrit  of  Habeas  Corpus— The  Draft— Riots  in 
New  York — Course  of  Governor  Peymour — Action  of  the  President — Elections  of 
18RS— Letter  from  the  Working  Men  of  Manchester.  England— The  President's 
Reply— Mr.  Lincoln's  Letter  to  J.  C.  Conkling— Military  Events  of  the  Year— Battle 

TABLE     OF     CONTENTS.  15 

of  Chancellorsville— Lee's  Invasion  of  Maryland  and  Pennsylvania— General  Meada 
succeeds  General  Hooker  in  Command— Battle  of  Gettysburg — The  President's 
Dispatch— Dedication  of  the  Gettysburg  Cemetery— Speech  of  the  President— Sur- 
render of  Vicksburg  and  Port  Hudson— Mr.  Lincoln's  Letter  to  General  Grant — 
Rosecrans'  Campaign  in  Tennessee — General  Grant  defeats  Bragg,  and  drives  Long- 
street  from  Tennessee — The  President's  Thanksgiving  Proclamations — Difficulty 
among  Union  Men  in  Missouri — Mr.  Lincoln's  Opinion, 405 



Mr.  Lincoln  at  the  White  House— His  Relations  to  the  Members  of  the  Cabinet — His 
Health — His  Love  of  Music— His  Sympathy  with  the  Soldiers — Anecdoies— His 
Charity  for  Human  Weakness — His  Seventy  towards  Deliberate  and  Mercenary 
Crimes — Anecdotes — Mr.  Lincoln's  Religious  Character — Death  of  his  Son — Anec- 
dotes illustrating  his  Religious  Character — His  Interest  in  the  Christian  Commis- 
sion— Anecdotes — Visit  of  Two  Hundred  Members  of  the  Christian  Commission — 
Remarks  of  Mr.  Stuart,  and  the  President's  Reply— Mr.  Lincoln's  Interview  with 
Rev.  J.  T.  Duryea — His  Interest  in  the  Efforts  of  Religious  Men — His  Habits  at  the 
\Vhite  House —  Narrative  of  a  Lady  who  urged  him  to  establish  Military  Hospitals 
in  the  Northern  States — Injurious  effects  of  Excessive  Labor,  Anxiety,  and  Loss 
of  Sleep — Visit"  of  Representative*  of  various  Churches  and  Public  Bodies— His 
Melancholy— Anecdotes— His  Character, 429 



The  President's  Message — Proclamation  of  Amnesty — Supplementary  and  Explanatory 
Proclamation  of  March  24, 1864 — Failure  of  the  Bill  establishinga  Bureau  of  Freed- 
men's  Aff«irs  and  of  the  Constitutional  Amendment  Abolishing  Slavery — Repeal  of 
the  Fugitive  Slave  Law — Debate  in  the  House  of  Representatives  on  the  Expulsion 
of  Long  and  Harris — Case  of  General  F.  P.  Blair — U.S. Grant  appointed  Lieutenant- 
general— Sanitary  Fair  at  Baltimore — At  Philadelphia— At  the  Patent-office  in  Wash- 
ington— Visits  and  Speeches  of  the  President — Order  in  reference  to  the  Treatment 
of  Colored  Soldiers— Speech  of  the  President  on  the  Subject, 457 



Presidential  Election  of  1864— State  of  the  Country— Chase — Fremont — Convention  at 
Cleveland — J.  C.  Fremont  nominated  for  President — His  Reasons  for  Accepting 
the  Nomination— Withdrawal  of  his  Name— Meeting  in  New  York  in  Honor  of  Gen- 
eral Grant— Baltimore  Convention — Platform— Mr  Lincoln  nominated  for  President 
— His  Speech  accepting  th<:-  Nomination— Letter  to  the  Committee  of  the  Conven- 
tion— Case  of  Arguelles— Congressional  Plan  of  Reconstruction — The  President's 
Proclamation— Manifesto  of  Senators  Wade  and  Davis— Peace  Negotiations — Mr. 
Greelpy's  Letters— Mr.  Lincoln's  Replies— Mr.  Greeley  at  Ningara  Falls— Consulta- 
tions with  Clay  and  Holcombe— The  President's  Letter  to  H.  J.  Raymond— Demo- 
cratic Convention  at  Chicago— The  Platform— McClellan  and  Pendleton  Nominated 
— Vallandisham— Mr.  Blair  Retires  from  the  Cabinet— Mr.  Denmson  nppo-nted  m 
his  Plane— Mr.  Lincoln's  Speech  on  the  Adoption  of  a  Free  Constitution  in  Mary- 
land—Protest against  the  Tennp=<»>p.  Te=t  Oath— The  President's  Reply— Call  for 
500,000  Men— President  Lincoln  Re-elected— His  Letter  to  Mrs.  Bixby 467 

16  TABLE     OF     CONTENTS. 



Military  Operations  of  1864 — General  Smith's  Expedition  from  Memphis — Kilpatrick's 
Raid — The  Red  River  Expedition — Surrender  of  Fort  Pillow— Battles  of  the  Wil- 
derness— General  Butler  at  City  Point— Siege  of  Petersburg — Sherman's  Campaign 
in  Georgia — Capture  of  Atlanta — Sherman's  March  for  the  Coast — Capture  of  Sa- 
vannah— General  Thomas  defeats  Hood  in  Tennessee — Shendan  defeats  Early  in 
the  Shenandoah  Valley — Rout  of  Price  m  Missouri— Changes  in  the  Cabinet — Death 
of  Chief-Justice  Taney,  and  Appointment  of  Mr.  Chase — Message  of  the  President 
— Passage  oy  Congress  of  the  Amendment  to  the  Constitution  abolishing  Slavery-^ 
Call  for  300,000  Men— Peace  Conference  in  Hampton  Roads — Mr.  Lincoln's  '-Story" 
— Close  of  President  Lincoln's  First  Term— His  Re-Inauguration— His  Inaugural 
Address — Resignation  of  Secretary  Fessenden — Appointment  of  Mr.  McCulloch— 
Proclamation  to  .Deserters — The  .Draft, , 492 



Sherman's  March — Occupation  of  Columbia— Evacuation  of  Charleston — Battles  of 
Averysboro  and  Bentonville — Occupation  of  Goldsboro — The  President  at  City  Point 
— Advance  of  the  Army  of  the  Potomac— Defeat  of  General  Lee — Evacuation  of  Rich- 
mond— Its  occupation  by  General  Weitzel— Surrender  of  Genera!  Lee — The  Pres- 
ident and  the  Kittens — The  President  visits  Richmond— His  Interview  with  Judge 
Campbell — Negotiations  of  General  Sherman — Surrender  of  General  Johnston — End 
of  the  Rebellion — Joy  of  the  People — Popularity  of  the  President — His  Speech  at 
the  White  House, GO6 


Position  of  President  Lincoln  before  the  World— Plots  for  his  Assassination— Letter  of 
Mr.  Seward— The  President's  Interview  with  Speaker  Colfax— His  attendance  at 
Ford's  Theater— Enthusiasm  of  the  P"Ople  on  his  Arrival— J.  Wilkes  Booth— His 
Arrangements  for  the  Assassination— Perpetration  of  the  Deed— Escape  of  Booth — 
Death  of  the  President — Attack  upon  Mr.  Seward  and  his  Son— Profound  Grief  of 
the  Nation — Funeral  Services  at  Washington — Departure  of  the  Funeral  Train  for 
Springfield — Ceremonies  at  Baltimore — At  Harrisburs— At  Philadelphia— -At  New 
York— At  Albany — At  Buffalo — At  Cleveland— At  Columbus — At  Chicago — Funeral 
Services  at  Springfield — Foreign  Expressions  of  Sympathy  with  the  Nation,  and 
with  Mr.  Lincoln's  Family — Mr.  Johnson  succeeds  to  the  Presidency— Large  Re- 
wards offered  for  the  apprehension  of  the  Murderer — He  is  traced  t*his  Hiding- 
place  an  I  Killed — Capture  and  Trial  of  his  Associates — Closing  Tribute  to  the  Char- 
acter and  Administration,  of  Abraham  Lincoln, , 515 



THE  early  life  of  ABRAHAM  LINCOLN  was  a  hard  and  humble 
backwoods  and  border  life.  As  a  boy  and  as  a  young  man, 
he  was  not  fond  of  wild  sports  and  exciting  adventures.  It 
is  doubtless  true  that  the  earlier  years  of  many  of  his  neigh- 
bors and  companions  would  be  more  engaging  to  the  pen  of 
the  biographer  and  the  imagination  of  the  reader,  than  his. 
His  later  career,  his  noble  character,  his  association  with  the 
grandest  and  most  important  events  of  American  history,  have 
alone,  or  mainly,  given  significance  and  interest  to  his  youth- 
ful experiences  of  hardship,  the  humble  processes  of  his  edu- 
cation, and  his  early  struggles  with  the  rough  forces  of  nature 
among  which  he  was  born.  The  tree  which  rose  so  high,  and 
epread  its  leaves  so  broadly,  and  bore  such  golden  fruit,  and 
then  fell  before  the  blast  because  it  was  so  heavy  and  so  high, 
has  left  its  roots  upturned  into  the  same  light  that  glorifies 
its  branches,  and  discovered  and  made  divine  the  soil  from 
which  it  drew  its  nutriment. 

When  Mr.  Lincoln  was  nominated  for  the  presidency  of  the 
United  States  in  1860,  it  became  desirable  that  a  sketch  of 
his  life  should  be  prepared  and  widely  distributed ;  but,  upon 
being  applied  to  for  materials  for  this  sketch,  by  the  gentle- 
man who  had  undertaken  to  produce  it,*  he  seemed  oppressed 

*J.  L.  Scripps,  Esq.,  of  Chicago. 


with  a  sense  of  their  tameness  and  lowliness,  and  the  convic- 
tion that  they  could  not  be  of  the  slightest  interest  to  the 
American  people.  "  My  early  history,"  said  he,  "  is  perfectly 
characterized  by  a  single  line  of  Gray's  Elegy : 

'The  short  and  simple  annals  of  the  poor.'" 

His  judgment  then  was  measurably  just ;  but  events  have  set 
it  aside,  and  endowed  the  humble  details  that  seemed  to  him 
so  common-place  and  mean,  with  a  profound  and  tender  in- 

ABRAHAM  LINCOLN  was  born  in  that  part  of  Hardin 
County,  Kentucky,  now  embraced  by  the  lines  of  the  recently 
formed  county  of  Larue,  on  the  12th  of  February,  1809.  A 
region  more  remarkably  picturesque  was  at  that  time  hardly 
to  be  found  in  all  the  newly-opened  country  of  the  AVest. 
Variegated  and  rolling  in  its  surface,  about  two-thirds  of  it 
timbered  and  fertile,  the  remainder  composed  of  barrens,  sup- 
porting only- black-jacks  and  post-oaks,  and  spreading  into 
plains,  or  rising  into  knolls  or  knobs,  and  watered  by  beauti- 
ful and  abundant  streams,  it  was  as  attractive  to  the  eye  of 
the  lover  of  nature  as  to  the  enterprise  of  the  agriculturist 
and  the  passion  of  the  hunter.  Some  of  the  knobs  rising  out 
of  the  barrens  reach  a  considerable  elevation,  and  are  digni- 
fied by  the  name  of  mountains.  "  Shiny  Mountain  "  is  one 
of  the  most  lovely  of  these,  giving  a  view  of  the  whole  valley 
of  the  Nolin.  A  still  larger  knob  is  the  "  Blue  Ball,''  from 
whose  summit  one  may  see,  on  a  fair  morning,  the  fog  rising 
from  the  Ohio  River,  twenty  miles  away. 

In  a  rude  log  cabin,  planted  among  these  scenes,  the  sub- 
ject of  this  biography  opened  his  eyes.  The  cabin  was  situ- 
ated on  or  near  Nolin  Creek,  about  a  mile  and  a  half  from 
Hodgenville,  the  present  county  seat  of  Larue  County.  Here 
he  spent  the  first  year  or  two  of  his  childhood,  when  he  re- 
moved to  a  cabin  on  Knob  Creek,  on  the  road  from  Bardstown, 
Kentucky,  to  Nashville,  Tennessee ;  at  a  point  three  and  a 
half  miles  south  or  southwest  of  Atherton's  Ferry,  (on  the 
Rolling  Fork,)  and  six  miles  from  Hodgenville.  It  was  in 


these  two  homes*  that  he  spent  the  first  seven  years  of  his 
life  ;  but  before  saying  anything  of  those  years,  it  will  be  best 
to  tell  how  his  parents  found  their  way  into  the  wilderness, 
and  to  record  what  is  known  of  his  family  history. 

In  1769,  Daniel  Boone,  at  the  head  of  a  small  and  hardy 
party  of  adventurers,  set  out  from  his  home  on  the  Yadkin 
liiver,  in  South  Carolina,  to  explore  that  part  of  Virginia 
which  he  then  knew  as  "The  Country  of  Kentucky."  After 
participating  in  the  most  daring  and  dangerous  adventures,, 
and  suffering  almost  incredible  hardships,  he  returned,  abund- 
antly rewarded  with  peltry,  in  1771.  Two  years  after  this, 
he  undertook  to  remove  his  family  to  the  region  which  had 
entirely  captivated  his  imagination  ;  but  it  was  not  until  1775 
that  his  purpose  was  accomplished.  This  brave  and  widely- 
renowned  pioneer,  with  those  who  accompanied  him  and  those 
who  were  attracted  to  the  region  by  the  reports  which  he  had 
carried  back  to  the  Eastern  settlements,  lived  a  life  of  constant 
exposure  to  Indian  warfare  ;  but  danger  seemed  only  to  sharp- 
en the  spirit  of  adventure,  and  to  attract  rather  than  repel 

Among  those  for  whom  "  The  Country  of  Kentucky  "  had 
its  savage  charms  was  Abraham  Lincoln,  the  grandfather  of 
the  President,  then  living  in  Rockingham  County,  Virginia. 
Why  he  should  have  left  the  beautiful  and  fertile  valley  of  the 
Shenandoah  for  the  savage  wilds  West  of  him  cannot  be 
known,  but  he  only  repeated  the  mystery  of  pioneer  life — 
the  greed  for  something  newer  and  wilder  and  more  danger- 
ous than  that  which  surrounded  him.  His  removal  to  Ken- 
tucky took  place  about  1780.  Of  the  journey,  we  have  no 
record ;  but  we  know  that  at  that  date  it  must  have  been  one 
of  great  hardship,  as  he  was  accompanied  by  a  young  and 
tender  family.  The  spot  upon  which  he  built  is  not  known, 

*Mr.  Lincoln,  in  the  manuscript  record  of  his  life  dictated  to  J.  G. 
Nicolay,  makes  mention  of  but  one  home  in  Kentucky.  Scripps'  me- 
moir, also  gathered  from  Mr.  Lincoln's  lips,  is  silent  on  the  subject;  but 
Barrett's  Campaign  Life  of  Lincoln  gives  the  statement  circumstantially, 
and  is  probably  correct. 


though  it  is  believed  to  have  been  somewhere  on  Floyd's 
Creek,  in  "what  is  now  Bullitt  County.  Hardly  more  of  his 
history  is  preserved  than  that  which  relates  to  his  death.  In 
1784,  while  at  work  in  the  field,  at  a  distance  from  his  cabin, 
he  was  stealthily  approached  by  an  Indian,  and  shot  dead. 

The  care  of  five  helpless  children  was,  by  this  murder, 
thrown  upon  his  widow.  She  subsequently  removed  to  a 
place  now  embraced  within  the  limits  of  Washington  County, 
and  there  she  reared,  in  such  rude  ways  as  necessity  pre- 
scribed, her  little  brood.  Three  of  these  children,  sons,  were 
named  in  the  order  of  their  birth,  Mordecai,  Josiah  and 
Thomas.  The  two  daughters  were  named  respectively  Mary 
and  Nancy.  Mordecai  remained  in  Kentucky  until  late  in 
life,  but  a  short  time  before  his  death,  removed  to  Hancock 
County,  Illinois,  where  several  of  his  descendants  still  reside. 
Josiah,  the  second  son,  removed  while  a  young  man  to  what 
is  now  Harrison  County,  Indiana.  Thomas,  the  third  son, 
was  the  father  of  Abraham  Lincoln,  the  illustrious  subject  of 
this  biography.  Mary  Lincoln  was  married  to  Ralph  Grume, 
and  Nancy  to  William  Brumfield.  The  descendants  of  these 
women  still  reside  in  Kentucky.  All  these  children  were 
probably  born  in  Virginia, — Thomas,  in  1778, — so  that  he 
was  only  about  two  years  old  when  his  father  emigrated. 

Tracing  the  family  still  farther,  we  find  that  Abraham,  the 
emigrant,  had  four  brothers :  Isaac,  Jacob,  John  and  Thomas. 
The  descendants  of  Jacob  and  John  are  supposed  to  be  still 
in  Virginia.  Isaac  emigrated  to  the  region  where  Virginia, 
North  Carolina  and  Tennessee  unite,  and  his  descendants  are 
there.  Thomas  went  to  Kentucky,  probably  later  than  his 
brother  Abraham,  where  he  lived  many  years,  and  where  he 
died.  His  descendants  went  to  Missouri. 

Further  back  than  this  it  is  difficult  to  go.  The  most  that 
is  known,  is,  that  the  Lincolns  of  Rockingham  County,  Vir- 
ginia, came,  previous  to  1752,  from  Berks  County,  Pennsyl- 
vania. Where  the  Lincolns  of  Berks  County  came  from,  no 
record  has  disclosed.  They  are  believed  to  have  been  Quakers, 
but  whether  they  were  an  original  importation  from  Old  Eng- 


land,  under  the  auspices  of  William  Penn,  or  a  pioneer  off- 
shoot from  the  Lincolns  of  New  England,  does  not  appear. 
There  is  the  strongest  presumptive  evidence  that  the  Penn- 
sylvania and  New  England  Lincolns  were  identical  in  their 
family  blood.  The  argument  for  this  identity  rests  mainly 
upon  the  coincidences  which  the  Christian  names  of  the  two 
families  present.  Three  Lincolns  who  came  from  Hingham, 
in  England,  and  settled  in  Hino-ham,  Massachusetts,  between 

o  o  *  i 

1633  and  1637,  bore  the  Christian  name  of  Thomas.  Anoth- 
er bore  the  name  of  Samuel,  and  he  had  three  sons :  Daniel, 
Mordecai  and  Thomas.  Mordecai  was  the  father  of  Morde- 
cai,  who  was  born  in  1686.  He  was  also  the  father  of  Abra- 
ham, born  in  1689.  About  1750,  there  were  two  Mordecai 
Lincolns  in  the  town  of  Taunton.*  Here  we  have  the  three 
names :  Mordecai,  Thomas  and  Abraham,  in  frequent  and  fa- 
miliar family  use.  Passing  to  the  Pennsylvania  family,  we 
find  that  among  the  taxable  inhabitants  of  Exeter,  Berka 
Couaty,  Pennsylvania,  there  were,  soon  after  1752,  Mordecai 
and  Abraham  Lincoln ;  that  Thomas  Lincoln  was  living  in 
Reading  as  early  as  1757,  and  that  Abraham  Lincoln,  of 
Berks  County,  was  in  various  public  offices  in  the  state  from 
1782  to  1790.f 

It  has  already  been  seen  that  these  names  have  been  per- 
petuated among  the  later  generations  of  the  Pennsylvania 
Lincolns,  and  that  the  three  names — Abraham,  Mordecai 
and  Thomas — were  all  embraced  in  the  family  out  of  which 
the  President  sprang.  The  argument  thus  based  upon  the 
identity  of  favorite  family  names  (and  one  of  those  quite  an 
unusual  name,)  is  very  strong  in  establishing  identity  of 
Hood,  though,  of  course,  it  is  not  entirely  conclusive.  It  is 
sufficient,  certainly,  in  the  absence  of  a  reliable  record,  to 
make  the  theory  plausible  which  transfers  a  Quaker  from  the 
unfriendly  soil  of  Massachusetts  to  the  paradise  of  Quakers 
in  Pennsylvania.  It  is  highly  probable  that  an  exceptional 

*Rev.  Elias  Nason's  Eulogy  before  the  N.  E.  Historic-Geneological 
Society,  at  Boston,  May  3,  1865. 
fRupp's  History  of  Berks  and  Lebanon  Counties,  Pennsylvania. 


Quaker  among  the  Massachusetts  Puritan  family  went,  with 
other  New  Englanders,  to  Berks  County  in  Pennsylvania,  and 
that  the  blood  which  has  given  to  New  England  a  considera- 
ble number  of  most  honorable  names,  has  given  to  the  nation 
one  of  the  noblest  that  adorn  its  annals. 

Thomas  Lincoln,  the  father  of  the  President,  was  made,  by 
the  early  death  of  his  father  and  the  straitened  circumstances 
of  his  mother,  a  wandering,  laboring,  ignorant  boy.  He 
grew  up  without  any  education.  He  really  never  learned 
anything  of  letters  except  those  which  composed  his  own 
name.  This  he  could  write  clumsily,  but  legibly,  and  this  he 
did  write  without  any  knowledge  of  the  names  and  powers  of 
the  letters  which  composed  it.  While  a  lad  not  fully  grown, 
he  passed  a  year  as  a  hired  field  hand  on  "Wataga,  a  branch 
of  the  Holston  Kiver,  in  the  employ  of  his  Uncle  Isaac.  With- 
out money  or  the  opportunity  to  acquire  it,  all  the  early  years 
of  his  life  were  passed  in  labor  for  others,  at  such  wages  as 
he  could  command,  or  in  hunting  the  game  with  which  the  re- 
gion abounded.  It  was  not  until  he  had  reached  his  twenty- 
eighth  year  that  he  found  it  practicable  to  settle  in  life,  and 
make  for  himself  a  home.  He  married  Nancy  Hanks,  in 
1806.  She  was  born  in  Virginia,  and  was  probably  a  relative 
of  one  of  the  early  immigrants  into  Kentucky.  He  took  her  to 
the  humble  cabin  he  had  prepared  for  her,  already  alluded  to  as 
the  birth-place  of  the  President,  and  within  the  first  few  years 
of  her  married  life,  she  bore  him  three  children.  The  first 
was  a  daughter  named  Sarah,  who  married  when  a  child,  and 
died  many  years  ago,  leaving  no  issue.  The  third  was  a  son, 
(Thomas,)  who  died  in  infancy.  The  second  was  Abraham, 
who,  born  into  the  humblest  abode,  under  the  humblest  circum- 
stances, raised  himself  by  the  force  of  native  gifts  of  heart  and 
brain,  and  by  the  culture  and  power  achieved  by  his  own  will 
and  industry,  under  the  blessing  of  a  Providence  which  he 
always  recognized,  to  sit  in  the  highest  place  in  the  land,  and 
to  preside  over  the  destinies  of  thirty  millions  of  people. 

From  such  materials  as  are  readily  accessible,  let  us  paint 
a  picture  of  the  little  family.  Thomas  Lincoln,  the  father, 


was  a  well  built,  sinewy  man,  about  five  feet  ten  and  a  half 
inches  high,  dressed  in  the  humble  garb  which  his  poverty 
compelled  and  the  rude  art  of  the  time  and  locality  produced. 
Though  a  rover  by  habit  and  native  tastes,  he  was  not  a  man 
of  enterprise.  He  was  a  good-natured  man,  a  man  of  un- 
doubted integrity,  but  inefficient  in  making  his  way  in  the 
world,  and  improvident  of  the  slender  means  at  his  command. 
He  was  a  man,  hoAvever,  whom  everybody  loved,  and  who 
held  the  warm  affection  of  his  eminent  son  throughout  his 
life.  He  attributed  much  of  his  hard  fortune  to  his  lack  of 
education,  and  in  one  thing,  at  least,  showed  himself  more 
wisely  provident  than  the  majority  of  his  neighbors.  He  de- 
termined, at  any  possible  sacrifice,  to  give  his  children  the 
best  education  that  the  schools  of  the  locality  afforded. 

Mrs.  Lincoln,  the  mother,  was  evidently  a  woman  out  of 
place  among  those  primitive  surroundings.  'She  was  five  feet, 
five  inches  high,  a  slender,  pale,  sad  and  sensitive  woman, 
with  much  in  her  nature  that  was  truly  heroic,  and  much  that 
shrank  from  the  rude  life  around  her.  A  great  man  never 
drew  his  infant  life  from  a  purer  or  more  womanly  bosom  than 
her  own ;  and  Mr.  Lincoln  always  looked  back  to  her  with 
an  unspeakable  affection.  Long  after  her  sensitive  heart  and 
weary  hands  had  crumbled  into  dust,  and  had  climbed  to  life 
again  in  forest  flowers,  he  said  to  a  friend,  with  tears  in  his 
eyes :  "  All  that  I  am,  or  hope  to  be,  I  owe  to  my  angel 
mother — blessings  on  her  memory !  " 

Here  was  the  home  and  here  were  its  occupants,  all  hum- 
ble, all  miserably  poor ;  yet  it  was  a  home  of  love  and  of 
virtue.  Both  father  and  mother  were  religious  persons,  and 
sought  at  the  earliest  moment  to  impress  the  minds  of  their 
children  with  religious  truth.  The  mother,  though  not  a 
ready  writer,  could  read.  Books  were  scarce,  but  occasion- 
ally an  estray  was  caught  and  eagerly  devoured.  Abraham 
and  his  sister  often  sat  at  her  feet  to  hear  of  scenes  and  deeds 
that  roused  their  young  imaginations,  and  fed  their  hungry 

Schools  in  Kentucky  were,  in  those  days,  scarce  and  very 


poor.  Nothing  more  than  instruction  in  the  rudiments  of 
education  was  attempted.  Zachariah  Riney  was  Abraham's 
first  teacher.  Riney  was  a  Catholic,  and  though  the  Protest- 
ant children  in  his  charge  were  commanded,  or  permitted,  to 
retire  when  any  of  his  peculiar  religious  ceremonies  or  exer- 
cises were  in  progress,  Mr.  Lincoln  always  entertained  a 
pleasant  and  grateful  memory  of  him.  He  began  his  attend- 
ance upon  Mr.  Riney's  school  when  he  was  in  his  seventh 
year,  but  could  hardly  have  continued  it  beyond  a  period  of 
two  or  three  months.  His  next  teacher  was  Caleb  Hazel,  a 
fine  young  man,  whose  school  he  attended  for  about  three 
months.  The  boy  was  diligent,  and  actually  learned  to  write 
an  intelligible  letter  during  this  period. 

If  the  schools  of  the  region  were  rude  and  irregular,  its 
religious  institutions  were  still  more  so.  Public  religious 

o  o 

worship  was  observed  in  the  neighborhood  only  at  long  inter- 
vals, and  then  under  the  charge  of  roving  preachers,  who, 
ranging  over  immense  tracts  of  territory,  and  living  on  their 
horses  and  in  the  huts  of  the  settlers,  called  the  people  to- 
gether under  trees  or  cabin-roofs,  and  spoke  to  them  simply 
of  the  great  truths  of  Christianity.  The  preachers  themselves 
were  peculiar  persons,  made  so  by  the  peculiarity  of  their  cir- 
cumstances and  pursuits.  For  many  years,  Abraham  Lincoln 
never  saw  a  church  ;  but  he  heard  Parson  Elkin  preach.  At 
intervals  of  several  months,  the  good  parson  held  meetings  in 
the  neighborhood.  He  was  a  Baptist,  and  Thomas  and  Nancy 
Lincoln  were  members  of  that  communion.  Abraham's  first 
ideas  of  public  speech  were  gathered  from  the  simple  ad- 
dresses of  this  humble  and  devoted  itinerant,  and  the  boy 
gave  evidence  afterwards,  as  we  shall  see,  that  he  remembered 
him  with  interest  and  affection. 

When  inefficient  men  become  very  uncomfortable,  they  are 
quite  likely  to  try  emigration  as  a  remedy.  A  good  deal  of 
what  is  called  "  the  pioneer  spirit "  is  simply  a  spirit  of  shift- 
less discontent.  Possibly  there  was  something  of  this  spirit 
in  Thomas  Lincoln.  It  is  true,  at  least,  that  when  Abraham 
was  about  seven  years  old,  his  father  became  possessed  with 


the  desire  to  sell  his  little  home,  and  remove  to  another,  in 
some  fairer  wilderness.  It  is  probable,  also,  that  he  did  not 
like  to  rear  his  children  in  Kentucky.  He  had  been  wise 
enough  to  appreciate  the  advantages  of  education  to  his  chil- 
dren, and  it  is  quite  likely  that  he  shrank  from  seeing  them 
grow  up  in  a  community  cursed  with  slavery.  The  state 
having  outgrown,  with  marvelous  rapidity,  its  ruder  condi- 
tions, and  become  populous  and  powerful,  was  already  the 
home  of  an  institution  which  branded  labor  with  disgrace, 
and  made  the  position  of  the  poor  whites  a  hopeless  one. 
He  could  see  nothing  in  the  future,  for  himself  or  his  boy,  but 
labor  by  the  side  of  the  negro,  and  degradation  in  his  pres- 
ence and  companionship. 

Mr.  Lincoln  himself  never  attributed  his  father's  desire  to 
remove  from  Kentucky  to  his  dislike  of  slavery,  as  a  principal 
motive.  Kentucky,  more  than  most  of  the  new  states,  was 
cursed  with  defective  land-titles.  Daniel  Boone  himself,  with 
hundreds  of  others  who  had  shared  with  him  the  dangers  of 
pioneer  life,  was  dispossessed  of  nearly  all  his  lands,  after  hav- 
ing lived  upon  them  for  years,  and  rendered  them  very  valu- 
able by  improvements.  It  was  mainly  to  this  difficulty,  of 
getting  a  valid  title  to  land,  that  Abraham  Lincoln  attributed 
his  father's  desire  and  determination  to  remove  to  another 

Thomas  Lincoln  found  a  purchaser,  at  last,  for  his  home. 
He  bartered  it  away  for  ten  barrels  of  whisky  and  twenty 
dollars  in  money,  the  whole  representing  the  sum  of  three 
hundred  dollars,  his  price  for  the  place.*  After  building  a 
flat-boat  and  launching  it  upon  the  Rolling  Fork,  he  loaded 
it  with  his  stock  of  whisky,  and  all  the  heavier  household  wares 
of  which  he  was  possessed,  pushed  off  alone,  and  floated  safely 
down  to  the  Ohio  River.  Here  he  met  with  an  accident — a 
wreck,  indeed.  The  flat-boat  was  upset,  and  two-thirds  of  his 
whisky  and  many  of  his  housekeeping  utensils  and  farming 
and  other  tools  were  lost.  Meeting  with  assistance,  his  boat 

*  William  M.  Thayer's  "  Pioneer  Boy,"  a  singularly  faithful  statement 
of  the  early  experiences  of  Abraham  Lincoln. 


was  righted,  and  everything  saved  that  it  was  found  practica- 
ble to  'gather  from  the  bottom  of  the  river.  Landing  at 
Thompson's  Ferry,  he  procured  carriage  for  his  goods  about 
eighteen  miles  into  Spencer  County,  Indiana,  where,  in  almost 
an  unbroken  wilderness,  he  determined  to  settle.  Leaving 
his  goods  in  the  care  of  a  settler,  he  returned  to  Thompson's 
Ferry,  and  then,  on  foot,  took  as  nearly  as  possible  a  bee-line 
for  home,  where  he  arrived  in  due  time.  It  was  probably 
during  the  absence  of  the  father  on  his  preliminary  trip  that 
the  mother  paid  her  last  tribute  of  affection  to  the  little  one 
she  had  buried,  by  visiting  its  grave,  in  company  with  her 
living  boy — an  incident  which  he  remembered  with  tender 

This  voyage  was  made  in  the  autumn  of  1816,  when  Abra- 
ham was  in  his  eighth  year,  and  it  was  followed  by  the  im- 
mediate removal  of  the  whole  family.  The  journey  to  the  new 
home  was  made  overland,  upon  three  horses  which  carried  in 
packs  the  bedding,  wardrobe  and  all  the  lighter  effects  of  the 
family.  The  humble  cavalcade  occupied  seven  days  in  the 
journey.  At  the  end  of  it,  the  emigrants  met  with  neighborly 
assistance  in  the  erection  of  a  dwelling,  and  were  soon  housed 
and  ready  to  begin  life  anew. 

It  must  not  be  inferred  from  the  character  of  the  material 
which  Mr.  Lincoln  received,  in  principal,  as  the  payment  for 
his  little  homestead  in  Kentucky,  and  transferred  to  his  new 
home  in  Indiana,  that  he  was  addicted  to  the  vice  of  strong 
drink.  In  those  days,  alcoholic  liquors  were  in  general  use 
among  the  settlers,  not  only  as  a  beverage,  but  as  a  remedial 
agent  in  the  treatment  of  the  diseases  peculiar  to  the  new  set- 
tlements of  the  West.  The  same  liquors  were  used  with  the 
same  freedom  among  all  classes  at  the  East,  at  that  date,  with- 
out a  thought  of  evil.  Mr.  Lincoln  supposed  he  was  receiv- 
ing a  commodity  which  would  be  of  great  value  to  him  in  the 
new  regions  of  Indiana,  where  distillation  had  not  been  at- 
tempted ;  and  he  doubtless  found  a  ready  market  for  the  frac- 
tion of  the  cargo  which  he  had  saved  from  the  river. 


THE  point  at  which  the  Lincoln  family  settled  in  Indiana 
was  not  far  from  the  present  town  of  Gentryville.  The  cam- 
paign biographers  of  Abraham  attribute  to  him  some  valuable 
service  with  the  ax,  both  in  building  the  cabin  and  in  clear- 
ing the  forest  around  it ;  but,  at  the  age  of  seven,  he  could 
hardly  have  rendered  much  assistance  in  these  offices.  We 
are  told  that  he  had  an  ax;  and  there  is  no  doubt  that  he 
learned  at  an  early  age  to  use  it  effectually.  Indeed,  his 
muscles  were  formed  and  hardened  by  this  exercise,  continued 
through  all  the  years  of  his  young  manhood.  It  has  already 
been  stated  that  he  had  no  taste  for  the  sports  of  the  forest ; 
but  he  made  an  early  shot,  with  a  result  that  must  have  sur- 
prised him  and  his  family.  While  yet  a  child,  he  saw  through 
a  crack  in  the  cabin  a  flock  of  wild  turkeys,  feeding.  He 
ventured  to  take  down  his  father's  rifle,  and,  firing  through 
the  crack,  killed  one  of  them.  This  was  the  largest  game 
upon  which  he  ever  pulled  trigger,  his  brilliant  success  having 
no  power  to  excite  in  him  the  passion  for  hunting. 

Among  the  most  untoward  circumstances,  Thomas  Lincoln 
embraced  every  opportunity  to  give  Abraham  an  education. 
At  different  periods,  all  of  them  brief,  he  attended  the  neigh- 
borhood schools  that  were  opened  to  him.  Andrew  Crawford 
taught  one  of  these,  a  Mr.  Sweeney  another,  and  Azel  W. 
Dorsey  another,  the  last  of  whom  lived  to  see  his  humble 
pupil  a  man  of  eminence,  and  to  congratulate  him  upon  his 
elevation.  One  year,  however,  would  cover  all  the  time  spent 


by  him  with  his  two  Kentucky  teachers,  and  the  three  whose 
schools  he  attended  in  Indiana ;  and  all  the  school  education 
of  his  life  was  embraced  by  the  limits  of  this  one  year. 

It  is  very  difficult  for  any  one  bred  in  the  older  communi- 
ties of  the  country  to  appreciate  the  extreme  humility  of  border 
life,  the  meagerness  and  meanness  of  its  household  appoint- 
ments, and  the  paucity  of  its  stimulants  to  mental  growth  and 
social  development.  The  bed  in  which  the  elder  Lincolns, 
and,  on  very  cold  nights,  the  little  Lincolns,  slept,  during  their 
first  years  in  Indiana,  was  one  whose  rudeness  will  give  a  key 
to  the  kind  of  life  which  they  lived  there.  The  head  and  one 
side  of  the  bedstead  were  formed  by  an  angle  of  the  cabin 
itself.  The  bed-post  standing  out  into  the  room  was  a  single 
crotch,  cut  from  the  forest.  Laid  upon  this  crotch  were  the 
ends  of  two  hickory  sticks,  whose  other  extremities  were  mor- 
ticed into  the  logs,  the  two  sides  of  the  cabin  and  the  two  rails 
embracing  a  quadrilateral  space  of  the  required  dimensions. 
This  was  bridged  by  slats  "  rived  "  from  the  forest  log,  and  on 
the  slats  was  laid  a  sack  filled  with  dried  leaves.  This  was, 
in  reality,  the  bed  of  Thomas  and  Nancy  Lincoln ;  and  into 
it,  when  the  skins  hung  at  the  cabin  doorway  did  not  keep  out 
the  cold,  Abraham  and  his  sister  crept  for  the  warmth  which 
their  still  ruder  couch  upon  the  ground  denied  them. 

The  lot  of  the  little  family,  already  sadly  dark,  was  rendered 
inexpressibly  gloomy  at  an  early  day  by  an  event  which  made 
a  profound  impression  upon  the  mind  of  the  boy — an  impres- 
sion that  probably  never  wore  away  during  all  the  eventful 
years  that  followed.  His  delicate  mother  bent  to  the  dust 
under  the  burden  of  life  which  circumstances  had  imposed 
upon  her.  A  quick  consumption  seized  her,  and  her  life  went 
out  in  the  flashing  fevers  of  her  disease.  The  boy  and  his 
sister  were  orphans,  and  the  humble  home  in  the  wilderness 
was  desolate.  Her  death  occurred  in  1818,  scarcely  two  years 
after  her  removal  to  Indiana,  and  when  Abraham  was  in  his 
tenth  year.  They  laid  her  to  rest  under  the  trees  near  the 
cabin,  and,  sitting  on  her  grave,  the  little  boy  wept  his  irre- 
parable loss.  There  were  probably  none  but  the  simplest 


ceremonies  at  her  burial,  and  neither  father  nor  son  was  content 
to  part  with  her  without  a  formal  Christian  tribute  to  her 
worth  and  memory.  Both  thought  of  the  good  Parson  Elkin 
whom  they  had  left  in  Kentucky;  and  Abraham's  skill  in 
writing  was  brought  into  use  in  addressing  to  him  a  message. 
His  imperfect  penmanship  had  been  acquired  partly  in  the 
schools  he  had  attended,  and  partly  by  practice  in  the  sand 
and  on  the  barks  of  trees — on  anything  and  with  any  instru- 
ment by  which  letters  might  be  formed. 

Several  months  after  Mrs.  Lincoln  died,  Abraham  wrote  a 
letter  to  Parson  Elkin,  informing  him  of  his  mother's  death, 
and  begging  him  to  come  to  Indiana,  and  preach  her  funeral 
sermon.  It  was  a  great  favor  that  he  thus  asked  of  the  poor 
preacher.  It  would  require  him  to  ride  on  horseback  nearly 
a  hundred  miles  through  the  wilderness ;  and  it  is  something 
to  be  remembered  to  the  humble  itinerant's  honor  that  he  was 
willing  to  pay  this  tribute  of  respect  to  the  woman  who  had 
SO  thoroughly  honored  him  and  his  sacred  office.  He  replied 
to  Abraham's  invitation,  that  he  would  preach  the  sermon  on 
a  certain  future  Sunday,  and  gave  him  liberty  to  notify  the 
neighbors  of  the  promised  service. 

As  the  appointed  day  approached,  notice  was  given  to  the 
whole  neighborhood,  embracing  every  family  within  twenty 
miles.  Neighbor  carried  the  notice  to  neighbor.  It  was  scat- 
tered from  every  little  school.  There  was  probably  not  a 
family  that  did  not  receive  intelligence  of  the  anxiously  antic- 
ipated event. 

On  a  bright  Sabbath  morning,  the  settlers  of  the  region 
started  for  the  cabin  of  the  Lincolns ;  and,  as  they  gathered 
in,  they  presented  a  picture  worthy  the  pencil  of  the  worthiest 
painter.  Some  came  in  carts  of  the  rudest  construction,  their 
wheels  consisting  of  sections  of  the  huge  boles  of  forest  trees, 
and  every  other  member  the  product  of  the  ax  and  auger ; 
some  came  on  horseback,  two  or  three  upon  a  horse ;  others 
came  in  wagons  drawn  by  oxen,  and  still  others  came  on  foot. 
Two  hundred  persons  in  all  were  assembled  when  Parson  Elkin 
came  out  from  the  Lincoln  cabin,  accompanied  by  the  little 


family,  and  proceeded  to  the  tree  under  vrhich  the  precious 
dust  of  a  wife  and  mother  was  buried.  The  congregation, 
seated  upon  stumps  and  logs  around  the  grave,  received  the 
preacher  and  the  mourning  family  in  a  silence  broken  only  by 
the  songs  of  birds,  and  the  murmur  of  insects,  or  the  creakin^ 

O  *  *  O 

cart  of  some  late  comer.  Taking  his  stand  at  the  foot  of  the 
grave,  Parson  Elkin  lifted  his  voice  in  prayer  and  sacred  song, 
and  then  preached  a  sermon.  The  occasion,  the  eager  faces 
around  him,  and  all  the  sweet  influences  of  the  morning,  inspired 
him  with  an  unusual  fluency  and  fervor;  and  the  flickering 
sunlight,  as  it  glanced  through  the  wind-parted  leaves,  caught 
many  a  tear  upon  the  bronzed  cheeks  of  his  auditors,  while 
father  and  son  were  overcome  by  the  revival  of  their  great 
grief.  He  spoke  of  the  precious  Christian  woman  who  had 
gone  with  the  warm  praise  which  she  deserved,  and  held  her 
up  as  an  example  of  true  womanhood. 

Those  who  knew  the  tender  and  reverent  spirit  of  Abraham 
Lincoln  later  in  life,  will  not  doubt  that  he  returned  to  his 
cabin-home  deeply  impressed  by  all  that  he  had  heard.  It 
was  the  rounding  up  for  him  of  the  influences  of  a  Christian 
mother's  life  and  teachings.  It  recalled  her  sweet  and  patient 
example,  her  assiduous  efforts  to  inspire  him  with  pure  and 
noble  motives,  her  simple  instructions  in  divine  truth,  her  de- 
voted love  for  him,  and  the  motherly  offices  she  had  rendered 
him  during  all  his  tender  years.  His  character  was  planted  in 
this  Christian  mother's  life.  Its  roots  were  fed  by  this  Chris- 
tian mother's  love ;  and  those  who  have  wondered  at  the  truth- 
fulness and  earnestness  of  his  mature  character,  have  only  to  re- 
member that  the  tree  was  true  to  the  soil  from  which  it  sprang. 

Abraham,  at  an  early  day,  became  a  reader.  Every  book 
upon  which  he  could  lay  his  hands  he  read.  He  became  a 
writer  also.  The  majority  of  the  settlers  around  him  were 
entirely  illiterate,  and  when  it  became  known  that  Mr.  Lin- 
coln's boy  could  write,  his  services  were  in  frequent  request 
by  them  in  sending  epistolary  messages  to  their  friends.  In 
the  composition  of  these  letters  his  early  habits  of  putting 
the  thoughts  of  others  as  well  as  his  own  into  language  were 


formed.  The  exercise  was,  indeed,  as  good  as  a  school  to 
him ;  for  there  is  no  better  discipline,  for  any  mind,  than  that 
of  giving  definite  expression  to  thought  in  language.  Much 
of  his  subsequent  power  as  a  writer  and  speaker  was  undoubt- 
edly traceable  to  this  early  discipline. 

The  books  which  Abraham  had  the  early  privilege  of  read- 
ing were  the  Bible,  much  of  which  he  could  repeat,  .zEsop's 
Fables,  all  of  which  he  could  repeat,  Pilgrim's  Progress, 
Weems'  Life  of  Washington,  and  a  Life  of  Henry  Clay  which 
his  mother  had  managed  to  purchase  for  him.  Subsequently 
he  read  the  Life  of  Franklin  and  Ramsay's  Life  of  Wash- 
ington. In  these  books,  read  and  re-read,  he  found  meat 
for  his  hungry  mind.  The  Holy  Bible,  ^Esop  and  John  Bun- 
yan: — could  three  better  books  have  been  chosen  for  him 
from  the  richest  library  ?  For  those  who  have  witnessed  the 
dissipating  effects  of  many  books  upon  the  minds  of  modern 
children  it  is  not  hard  to  believe  that  Abraham's  poverty  of 
books  was  the  wealth  of  his  life.  These  three  books  did  much 
to  perfect  that  which  his  mother's  teachings  had  begun,  and 
to  form  a  character  which  for  quaint  simplicity,  earnestness, 
truthfulness  and  purity  has  never  been  surpassed  among  the 
historic  personages  of  the  world.  The  Life  of  Washington, 
while  it  gave  to  him  a  lofty  example  of  patriotism,  incidentally 
conveyed  to  his  mind  a  general  knowledge  of  American  his- 
tory ;  and  the  Life  of  Henry  Clay  spoke  to  him  of  a  living 
man  who  had  risen  to  political  and  professional  eminence  from 
circumstances  almost  as  humble  as  his  own.  The  latter  book 
undoubtedly  did  much  to  excite  his  taste  for  politics,  to  kindle 
his  ambition,  and  to  make  him  a  warm  admirer  and  partizan 
of  Henry  Clay.  Abraham  must  have  been  very  young  when 
he  read  Weems'  Life  of  Washington,  and  we  catch  a  glimpse 
of  his  precocity  in  the  thoughts  which  it  excited,  as  revealed 
by  himself  in  a  speech  made  to  the  New  Jersey  Senate,  while 
on  his  way  to  Washington  to  assume  the  duties  of  the  Presi- 
dency. Alluding  to  his  early  reading  of  this  book,  he  says : 
"  I  remember  all  the  accounts  there  given  of  the  battle  fields 
and  struggles  for  the  liberties  of  the  country,  and  none  fixed 


themselves  upon  my  imagination  so  deeply  as  the  struggle 
here  at  Trenton,  New  Jersey.  *  *  *  I  recollect  thinking  then, 
boy  even  though  I  was,  that  there  must  have  been  something  more 
than  common  that  those  men  struggled  for."  Even  at  this  age, 
he  was  not  only  an  interested  reader  of  the  story,  but  a  stu- 
dent of  motives. 

Ramsay's  Life  of  Washington  was  borrowed  from  his  teach- 
er, Andrew  Crawford,  and  an  anecdote  connected  with  it  illus- 
trates Abraham's  conscientiousness  and  characteristic  honesty. 
The  borrowed  book  was  left  unguardedly  in  an  open  window. 
A  shower  coming  on,  it  was  wet  and  nearly  ruined.  Abraham 
carried  it  to  Mr.  Crawford  in  great  grief  and  alarm,  and,  after 
explaining  the  accident,  offered  to  pay  for  the  book  in  labor. 
Mr.  Crawford  accepted  the  proposal,  and  the  lad  "  pulled  fod- 
der" three  days  to  pay,  not  for  the  damages,  but  for  the  book 
itself,  which  thus  became  one  of  his  own  literary  treasures. 

In  the  autumn  or  early  winter  of  1819,  somewhat  more 
than  a  year  after  the  death  of  Mrs.  Lincoln,  Abraham  passed 
into  the  care  of  a  step-mother.  His  father  married  and  brought 
to  his  home  in  Indiana,  Mrs.  Sally  Johnston,  of  Elizabethtown, 
Kentucky,  undoubtedly  one  of  his  old  acquaintances.  She 
brought  with  her  three  children,  the  fruit  of  her  previous 
marriage ;  but  she  faithfully  fulfilled  her  assumed  maternal 
duties  to  Thomas  Lincoln's  children.  The  two  families  grew 
up  in  harmony  together,  and  the  many  kind  offices  which  she 
performed  for  Abraham  were  gratefully  returned  then  and  in 
after  years  by  him.  She  still  survives,  having  seen  her  young 
charge  rise  to  be  her  own  ruler,  and  the  ruler  of  the  nation, 
and  to  fall  amid  expressions  of  grief  from  the  whole  civilized 

As  Abraham  grew  up,  he  became  increasingly  helpful  in  all 
the  work  of  the  farm,  often  going  out  to  labor  by  the  day  for 
hire.  Abundant  evidence  exists  that  he  was  regarded  by  the 
neighbors  as  being  remarkable,  in  many  respects,  above  the  lads 
of  his  own  age,  with  whom  he  associated.  In  physical  strength 
and  sundry  athletic  feats,  he  was  the  master  of  them  all. 
Never  quarrelsome  or  disposed  to  make  an  unpleasant  show 


of  liis  prowess,  he  was  ready  to  help  all  who  were  in  need  of 
help,  to  do  their  errands,  write  their  letters,  and  lighten  their 


An  instance  of  his  practical  humanity  at  this  early  period 
of  his  life  may  be  recorded.  One  evening,  while  returning 
from  a  "raising"  in  his  wide  neighborhood,  with  a  number  of 
companions,  he  discovered  a  straying  horse,  with  saddle  and 
bridle  upon  him.  The  horse  was  recognized  as  belonging  to 
a  man  who  was  accustomed  to  excess  in  drink,  and  it  was  sus- 
pected at  once  that  the  owner  was  not  far  off.  A  short  search 
only  was  necessary  to  confirm  the  suspicions  of  the  young 
men.  The  poor  drunkard  was  found  in  a  perfectly  helpless 
condition,  upon  the  chilly  ground.  Abraham's  companions 
urged  the  cowardly  policy  of  leaving  him  to  his  fate,  but  young 
Lincoln  would  not  hear  to  the  proposition.  At  his  request, 
the  miserable  sot  was  lifted  to  his  shoulders,  and  he  actually 
carried  him  eighty  rods  to  the  nearest  house.  Sending  word 
to  his  father  that  he  should  not  be  back  that  night,  with  the 
reason  for  his  absence,  he  attended  and  nursed  the  man  until 
the  morning,  and  had  the  pleasure  of  believing  that  he  had 
saved  his  life. 

That  Abraham  Lincoln  was  entirely  content  with  the  hum- 
drum life  he  was  living,  or  the  prospects  which  it  presented 
to  him,  is  not  probable.  He  had  caught  glimpses  of  a  life  of 
greater  dignity  and  significance.  Echoes  from  the  great 
centers  of  civilization  had  reached  his  ears.  When  he  was 
eighteen  years  old  he  conceived  the  project  of  building  a  little 
boat,  and  taking  the  produce  of  the  Lincoln  farm  down  the 
river  to  a  market.  He  had  learned  the  use  of  tools,  and  pos- 
sessed considerable  mechanical  talent,  as  will  appear  in  some 
other  acts  of  his  life.  Of  the  voyage  and  its  results  we  have 
no  knowledge,  but  an  incident  occurred  before  starting  which 
he  related  in  later  life  to  his  Secretary  of  State,  Mr.  Seward, 
that  made  a  very  marked  and  pleasant  impression  upon  his 
memory.  As  he  stood  at  the  landing,  a  steamer  approached, 
coining  down  the  river.  At  the  same  time  two  passengers 
came  to  the  river's  bank  who  wished  to  be  taken  out  to  the 


packet  with  their  luggage.  Looking  among  the  boats  at  the 
landing,  they  singled  out  Abraham's,  and  asked  him  to  scull 
them  to  the  steamer.  This  he  did,  and  after  seeing  them  and 
their  trunks  on  board,  he  had  the  pleasure  of  receiving  upon 
the  bottom  of  his  boat,  before  he  shoved  off,  a  silver  half  dol- 
lar from  each  of  his  passengers.  "  I  could  scarcely  believe 
my  eyes,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  in  telling  the  story.  "  You  may 
think  it  was  a  very  little  thing,"  continued  he,  "  but  it  was  a 
most  important  incident  in  my  life.  I  could  scarcely  believe 
that  I,  a  poor  boy,  had  earned  a  dollar  in  less  than  a  day. 
The  world  seemed  wider  and  fairer  before  me.  I  was  a  more 
hopeful  and  confident  being  from  that  time." 

A  little  incident  occurred  during  these  hard  years  in  Indiana 
which  illustrates  the  straits  to  which  the  settlers  were  subjected. 
At  one  tune  Abraham  was  obliged  to  take  his  grist  upon  the 
back  of  his  father's  horse,  and  go  fifty  miles  to  get  it  ground. 
The  mill  itself  was  very  rude,  and  driven  by  horse-power. 
The  customers  were  obliged  to  wait  their  turn,  without  refer- 
ence to  their  distance  from  home,  and  then  use  their  own 
horses  to  propel  the  machinery.  On  one  occasion,  Abraham, 
having  arrived  at  his  turn,  fastened  his  mare  to  the  lever,  and 
was  following  her  closely  upon  her  rounds,  when,  urging  her 
with  a  switch,  and  "  clucking  "  to  her  in  the  usual  Avay,  he 
received  a  kick  from  her  which  prostrated  him,  and  made  him 
insensible.  "With  the  first  instant  of  returning  consciousness, 
he  finished  the  cluck,  which  he  had  commenced  when  he  re- 
ceived the  kick,  (a  fact  for  the  psychologist)  and  with  the 
next  he  probably  thought  about  getting  home,  where  he  arrived 
at  last,  battered,  but  ready  for  further  service. 

At  the  age  of  nineteen,  Abraham  made  his  second  essay  in 
navigation,  and  this  time  caught  something  more  than  a  glimpse 
of  the  great  world  in  which  he  was  destined  to  play  so  import- 
ant a  part.  A  trading  neighbor  applied  to  him  to  take  charge 
of  a  flat-boat  and  its  cargo,  and,  in  company  with  his  own  son, 
to  take  it  to  the  sugar  plantations  near  New  Orleans.  The 
entire  business  of  the  trip  was  placed  in  Abraham's  hands. 
The  fact  tells  its  own  story  touching  the  young  man's  reputa- 


tion  for  capacity  and  integrity.  lie  had  never  made  the  trip, 
knew  nothing  of  the  journey,  was  unaccustomed  to  business 
transactions,  had  never  been  much  upon  the  river;  but  his 
tact,  ability  and  honesty  were  so  far  trusted  in  that  the  trader 
was  willing  to  risk  his  cargo  and  his  son  in  his  care. 

The  delight  with  which  the  youth  swung  loose  from  the 
shore  upon  his  clumsy  craft,  with  the  prospect  of  a  ride  of 
eighteen  hundred  miles  before  him,  and  a  vision  of  the  great 
world  of  which  he  had  read  and  thought  so  much,  may  be 
imagined.  At  this  time,  he  had  become  a  very  tall  and  pow- 
erful young  man.  He  had  reached  the  remarkable  height  of 
six  feet  and  four  inches,  a  length  of  trunk  and  limb  remarkable 
even  among  the  tall  race  of  pioneers  to  which  he  belonged. 

The  incidents  of  a  trip  like  this  were  not  likely  to  be  ex- 
citing, but  there  were  many  social  chats  with  settlers  and 
hunters  along  the  banks  of  the  Ohio  and  Mississippi,  and  there 
was  much  hailing  of  similar  craft  afloat.  Arriving  at  a  sugar 
plantation  somewhere  between  Natchez  and  New  Orleans,  the 
boat  was  pulled  in,  and  tied  to  the  shore  for  purposes  of  trade ; 
and  here  an  incident  occurred  which  was  sufficiently  exciting, 
and  one  which,  in  the  memory  of  recent  events,  reads  some- 
what strangely.  Here  seven  negroes  attacked  the  life  of  the 
future  liberator  of  their  race,  and  it  is  not  improbable  that 
some  of  them  have  lived  to  be  emancipated  by  his  proclamation. 
Night  had  fallen,  and  the  two  tired  voyagers  had  lain  down 
upon  their  hard  bed  for  sleep.  Hearing  a  noise  on  shore, 
Abraham  shouted:  "who's  there?"  The  noise  continuing, 
and  no  voice  replying,  he  sprang  to  his  feet,  and  saw  seven 
negroes,  evidently  bent  on  plunder.  Abraham  guessed  the 
errand  at  once,  and  seizing  a  hand-spike,  rushed  toward  them, 
and  knocked  one  into  the  water  the  moment  that  he  touched 
the  boat.  The  second,  third  and  fourth  who  leaped  on  board 
were  served  in  the  same  rough  way.  Seeing  that  they  were 
not  likely  to  make  headway  in  their  thieving  enterprise,  the 
remainder  turned  to  flee.  Abraham  and  his  companion  grow- 
ing excited  and  warm  with  their  work,  leaped  on  shore,  and 
followed  them.  Both  were  too  swift  of  foot  for  the  negroes, 


and  all  of  them  received  a  severe  pounding.  They  returned 
to  their  boat  just  as  the  others  escaped  from  the  water,  but  the 
latter  'into  the  darkness  as  fast  as  their  feet  could  carry 
them.  '  iham  and  his  fellow  in  the  fight  were  both  injured, 

but  not  disabled.  Not  being  armed,  and  unwilling  to  wait  until 
the  negroes  had  received  reinforcements,  they  cut  adrift,  and 
floating  down  a  mile  or  two,  tied  up  to  the  bank  again,  and 
watched  and  waited  for  the  morning. 

The  trip  was  brought  at  length  to  a  successful  end.  The 
cargo,  or  "load,"  as  they  called  it,  was  all  disposed  of  for 
money,  the  boat  itself  sold  for  lumber,  and  the  young  men 
retraced  the  passage,  partly,  at  least,  on  shore  and  on  foot, 
occupying  several  weeks  in  the  difficult  and  tedious  journey. 

"Working  thus  for  others,  receiving  only  the  humblest  wages 
in  return,  reading  every  book  upon  which  he  could  lay  his 
hand,  pursuing  various  studies  in  the  intervals  of  toil  with 
special  attention  to  arithmetic,  discharging  his  filial  duties  at 
home  and  upon  his  father's  farm,  picking  up  bits  of  informa- 
tion from  neighbors  and  new-comers,  growing  in  wisdom  and 
practical  sagacity,  and  achieving  a  place  in  the  good  will  and 
respect  of  all  with  whom  he  came  in  contact,  the  thirteen 
years  of  his  life  in  Indiana  wore  away.  With  a  constitution 
as  firm  and  flexible  as  whip-cord,  he  had  arrived  at  his  majority. 
The  most  that  could  be  said  of  his  education  was  that  he  could 
"read,  write  and  cipher."  He  knew  nothing  of  English 
grammar.  He  could  not  read  a  sentence  in  any  tongue  but 
his  own ;  but  all  that  he  knew,  he  knew  thoroughly.  It  had 
all  been  assimilated,  and  was  a  part  not  only  of  his  inalienable 
possessions  but  of  himself.  While  acquiring,  he  had  learned 
to  construct,  organize,  express.  There  was  no  part  of  his 
knowledge  that  was  not  an  element  of  his  practical  power. 
He  had  not  been  made  by  any  artificial  process ;  he  had  grown. 
Holding  within  himself  the  germ  of  a  great  life,  he  had  reached 
out  his  roots  like  the  trees  among  which  he  was  reared,  and 
drawn  into  himself  such  nutriment  as  the  soil  afforded.  His 
individuality  was  developed  and  nurtured  by  the  process. 
He  had  become  a  man  after  God's  pattern,  and  not  a  machine 


after  man's  pattern ;  he  was  a  child  of  Nature  and  not  a  thing 
of  art.  And  this  was  the  secret  of  all  his  subsequent  intel- 
lectual successes.  He  succeeded  because  he  had  h\-f  ..i"  and 
all  his  resources  completely  in  hand;  for  he  w  »r_  ,t,  and 
never  became  an  educated  man,  in  the  common  meaiuiig  of  that 
phrase.  He  could  train  all  his  force  upon  any  point,  and  it 
mattered  little  whether  the  direction  was  an  accustomed  one 
or  otherwise. 

It  was  a  happy  thing  for  the  young  man  that,  living  among 
the  roughest  of  rough  men,  many  of  whom  were  addicted  to 
coarse  vices,  he  never  acquired  a  vice.  There  was  no  taint 
upon  his  moral  character.  No  stimulant  ever  entered  his  lips, 
no  profanity  ever  came  forth  from  them,  which  defiled  the 
man.  Loving  and  telling  a  story  better  than  any  one  around 
him,  except  his  father,  from  whom  he  inherited  the  taste  and 
talent,  a  great  talker  and  a  warm  lover  of  social  intercourse, 
good  natured  under  all  circumstances,  his  honesty  and  truth- 
fulness well  known  and  thoroughly  believed  in,  he  was  as 
popular  throughout  all  the  region  where  he  lived  as  he  became 
afterward  throughout  the  nation. 


THOMAS  LIXCOLX  had  raised  his  little  family;  and  the 
children  of  his  wife  were  also  grown  to  woman's  and  man's 
estate.  There  had  indeed  been  three  weddings  in  the  family. 
Sarah  Lincoln,  the  daughter,  was  married  to  Aaron  Grigsby, 
a  young  man  living  in  the  vicinity,  and  two  of  Mrs.  Lincoln's 
daughters  had  left  the  Lincoln  cabin  for  new  homes.  The 
sister  of  Abraham  had  been  married  but  a  year,  however, 
when  she  died,  and  thus  a  new  grief  was  inflicted  upon  the 
sensitive  heart  of  her  brother.  Her  marriage  occurred  in 
1822  ;  and  as  she  was  born  in  1808,  she  could  have  been  only 
fourteen  years  old  when  she  became  a  wife.  It  is  not  remark- 
able that  the  child  found  an  early  grave. 

During  the  last  two  years  of  their  residence  in  Indiana,  a 
general  discontent  had  seized  upon  the  family  concerning  their 
location.  The  region  at  that  day  was  an  unhealthy  one,  and 
there  could  be  no  progress  in  agricultural  pursuits  without  a 
great  outlay  of  labor  in  clearing  away  the  heavy  timber  which 
burdened  all  the  fertile  soil.  -  At  the  same  time,  reports  were 
rife  of  the  superior  qualities  of  the  prairie  lands  of  Illinois. 
There,  by  the  sides  of  the  water-courses,  and  in  the  edges  of 
the  timber,  were  almost  illimitable  farms  that  called  for  nothing 
but  the  plough  and  hoe  to  make  them  immediately  productive. 
Dennis  Hanks,  a  relative  of  the  first  Mrs.  Lincoln,  was  sent 
to  the  new  region  to  reconnoiter,  and  returned  with  a  glowing 
account  of  the  new  country.  It  is  probable  that  if  Thomas 
Lincoln  had  been  alone  he  would  have  remained  at  the  old 

Engraved  expressly  for  JfoUand's  "Jjife  afJiincobl  '. 


GO  ,)/IC  .fiC 

bad  roBcb- 
"io  Iisi/;I  o 

JjfWJ   V/'lJ-'T 

fcnu  Il;j:ii-! 

S.tb  v(d  ITOI 

lo  [log  ifo 


home,  but  there  was  young  life  to  be  taken  into  the  account. 
The  new  sons-in-law  of  Mrs.  Lincoln,  as  well  as  Abraham, 
were  doubtless  averse  to  repeating  the  severe  experiences  of 
the  father,  and  with  fresh  life  and  enterprise  desired  a  new  and 
more  inviting  field  of  operations. 

Mr.  Lincoln  sold  out  his  squatter's  claim  in  Indiana,  and,  on 
the  first  of  March,  1830,  less  than  a  month  after  Abraham  had 
completed  his  twenty-first  year,  he  started  for  the  land  of 
promise  in  company  with  his  family  and  the  sons-in-law  and 
two  daughters  of  his  wife.  Their  journey  was  difficult  and 
tedious  in  the  extreme.  They  found  the  rivers  swollen  by  the 
spring  rains,  and  through  such  mud  as  only  the  rich  soil  of 
the  West  can  produce,  the  ox-teams  dragged  the  wagons, 
loaded  with  the  entire  personal  effects  of  the  emigrants.  One 
of  these  teams  was  driven  by  Abraham.  Taking  a  north- 
westerly course,  they  struck  diagonally  across  the  southern 
part  of  Indiana,  making  toward  the  central  portion  of  Ulinois. 
After  a  journey  of  two  hundred  miles,  which  they  made  in 
fifteen  days,  they  entered  Macon  County  in  that  state,  and 
there  halted.  The  elder  Lincoln  selected  a  spot  on  the  north 
side  of  the  Sangamon  River,  at  the  junction  of  the  timber  land 
and  prairie,  about  ten  miles  westerly  of  Decatur.  Here, 
Abraham  assisted  his  father  in  building  a  log  cabin,  and  in 
getting  the  family  into  a  condition  for  comfortable  life.  The 
cabin,  which  still  stands,  was  made  of  hewed  timber,  and 
near  it  were  built  a  smoke  house  and  stable.  All  the  tools 
they  had  to  work  with  were  a  common  ax,  a  broad  ax,  a  hand- 
saw, and  a  "  drawer  knife."  The  doors  and  floor  were  made 
of  puncheon,  and  the  gable  ends  of  the  structure  boarded  up 
with  plank  "  rived  "  by  Abraham's  hand  out  of  oak  timber. 
The  nails  used — and  they  were  very  few — were  all  brought 
from  their  old  home  in  Indiana.  When  the  cabin  and  out- 
buildings were  completed,  Abraham  set  to  work  and  helped 
to  split  rails  enough  to  fence  in  a  lot  of  ten  acres,  and  built 
the  fence.  After  breaking  up  the  piece  of  inclosed  prairie, 
and  seeing  it  planted  with  corn,  he  turned  over  the  new  home 
to  his  father,  and  announced  his  intention  to  seek  or  make  his 


own  fortune.  lie  did  not  leave  the  region  immediately,  how- 
ever, but  worked  for  hire  among  the  neighboring  farmers, 
picking  up  enough  to  keep  himself  clothed,  and  looking  for 
better  chances.  It  is  remembered  that  during  this  time  he 
broke  up  fifty  acres  of  prairie  with  four  yoke  of  oxen,  and 
that  he  spent  most  of  the  winter  following  in  splitting  rails 
and  chopping  wood.  No  one  seems  to  know  who  Mr.  Ljpcoln 
worked  for  during  thio  first  summer,  but  a  little  incident  in  the 
pastoral  labors  of  Ilev.  A.  Hale  of  Springfield,  Illinois,  will 
perhaps  indicate  his  employer.  There  seems  to  be  no  room 
for  the  incident  afterwards  in  his  life,  and  it  is  undoubtedly 
associated  with  his  first  summer  in  Illinois.  Mr.  Hale,  in  May, 
1861,  went  out  about  seven  miles  from  his  home  to  visit  a  sick 
lady,  and  found  there  a  Mrs.  Brown  who  had  come  in  as  a 
neighbor.  Mr.  Lincoln's  name  having  been  mentioned,  Mrs. 
Brown  said :  "  Well,  I  remember  Mr.  Linken.  He  worked 
with  my  old  man  thirty-four  year  ago,  and  made  a  crap. 
We  lived  on  the  same  farm  where  we  live  now,  and  he  worked 
all  the  season,  and  made  a  crap  of  corn,  and  the  next  winter 
they  hauled  the  crap  all  the  way  to  Galena,  and  sold  it  for 
two  dollars  and  a  half  a  bushel.  At  that  time  there  was  no 
public  houses,  and  travelers  were  obliged  to  stay  at  any  house 
along  the  road  that  could  take  them  in.  One  evening  a  right 
smart  looking  man  rode  up  to  the  fence,  and  asked  my  old 
man  if  he  could  get  to  stay  over  night.  '  Well,'  said  Mr. 
Brown,  '  we  can  feed  your  crittur,  and  give  you  something 
to  eat,  but  we  can  't  lodge  you  unless  you  can  sleep  on  the 
same  bed  with  the  hired  man.'  The  man  hesitated,  and 
asked  '  Where  is  he  ? '  '  Well,'  said  Mr.  Brown,  '  you  can 
come  and  see  him.'  So  the  man  got  down  from  his  crittur, 
and  Mr.  Brown  took  him  around  to  where,  in  the  shade  of 
the  house,  Mr.  Lincoln  lay  his  full  length  on  the  ground,  with 
an  open  book  before  him.  '  There,'  said  Mr.  Brown,  pointing 
at  him,  '  he  is.'  The  stranger  looked  at  him  a  minute,  and 
said,  'Well,  I  think  he  '11  do,'  and  he  staid  and  slept  with  the 
President  of  the  United  States." 
^  There  are  some  mistakes  in  this  story.  Mr.  Lincoln  worked 


far  Mr.  Taylor,  who  owned  the  farm,  and  boarded  with  Mr. 
Brown.  There  is  an  evident  mistake  in  the  date  of  the 
incident,  for  it  puts  Mr.  Lincoln  into  Illinois  three  years  or 
more  before  he  removed  from  Indiana.  Of  the  fact  that  he 
worked  a  summer,  or  part  of  a  summer,  on  this  farm,  there  is 
no  doubt ;  and  it  is  strongly  probable  that  it  was  the  first  sum- 
mer he  spent  in  Illinois. 

The  expectation  of  the  family  to  find  a  more  healthy  location 
than  the  one  they  had  left  was  sadly  disappointed.  In  the 
autumn  of  that  year,  all  were  afflicted  with  fever  and  ague. 
This  was  a  new  enemy,  and  they  were  much  discouraged; 
but  no  steps  for  relief  or  removal  could  be  taken  then.  They 
determined,  however,  to  leave  the  county  at  the  first  oppor- 
tunity. In  the  meantime,  the  winter  descended,  and  it  proved 
to  be  the  severest  season  that  had  been  known  in  the  new 
state.  It  is  still  remembered  for  the  enormous  amount  of 
snow  that  fell.  In  the  following  spring,  the  father  left  the 
Sangamon  for  a  better  locality  in  Coles  County,  where  he 
lived  long  enough  to  see  his  son  one  of  the  foremost  men 
of  the  new  state,  to  receive  from  him  many  testimonials  of 
filial  affection,  and  to  complete  his  seventy-third  year.  He 
died  on  the  17th  day  of  January,  1851. 

A  man  who  used  to  work  with  Abraham  occasionally  dur- 
ing his  first  year  in  Illinois,*  says  that  at  that  time  he  was  the 
roughest  looking  person  he  ever  saw.  He  was  tall,  angular 
and  ungainly,  and  wore  trousers  made  of  flax  and  tow,  cut 
tight  at  the  ankle,  and  out  at  both  knees.  He  was  known  to 
be  very  poor,  but  he  was  a  welcome  guest  in  every  house  in 
the  neighborhood.  This  informant  speaks  of  splitting  rails 
with  Abraham,  and  reveals  some  interesting  facts  concerning 
wages.  Money  was  a  commodity  never  reckoned  upon. 
Abraham  split  rails  to  get  clothing,  and  he  made  a  bargain 
with  Mrs.  Nancy  Miller  to  split  four  hundred  rails  for  every 
yard  of  brown  jeans,  dyed  with  white  walnut  bark,  that  would 
be  necessary  to  make  him  a  pair  of  trousers.  In  these  days 
he  used  to  walk  five,  six  and  seven  miles  to  his  work. 
*  George  Cluse. 


He  left  home  before  his  father  removed  to  Coles  County, 
but  he  did  not  cut  entirely  loose  from  the  family  until  this 
removal.  Then  he  \vas  ready  for  any  opening  to  business,  and 
it  soon  came.  During  the  winter  of  the  deep  snow,  one  Denton 
Offutt,  a  trader,  who  belonged  in  Lexington,  Kentucky,  ap- 
plied to  him,  John  D.  Johnston,  his  stepmother's  son,  and  John 
Hanks,  a  relative  of  his  own  mother,  to  take  a  flat-boat  to 
New  Orleans.  Abraham  had  already  made  the  trip,  and  was 
regarded  as  a  desirable  man  for  the  service.  A  bargain  was 
made,  and  the  three  men  agreed  to  join  Offutt  at  Springfield, 
the  present  capital  of  the  state,  as  soon  as  the  snow  should  be 
gone.  The  snow  melted  about  the  first  of  March,  but  the 
accumulation  had  been  so  great  that  the  low  country  was 
heavily  flooded.  Finding  they  could  not  make  the  journey 
on  foot,  they  purchased  a  large  canoe,  and  proceeded  along 
the  Sangamon  Eiver  in  it.  They  found  Offutt  at  Springfield, 
but  learned  that  he  had  failed  to  buy  a  boat  at  Beardstown, 
as  he  had  expected.  As  all  were  disappointed,  they  finally 
settled  upon  an  arrangement  by  which  young  Lincoln,  Hanks 
and  Johnston  were  to  build  a  boat  on  Sangamon  Eiver,  at 
Sangamon  town,  about  seven  miles  north-west  of  Springfield. 
For  this  work  they  were  to  receive  twelve  dollars  a  month 
each.  When  the  boat  was  finished,  (and  every  plank  of  it 
was  sawed  by  hand  with  a  whip-saw,)  it  was  launched  on  the 
Sangamon,  and  floated  to  a  point  below  New  Salem,  in  Menard 
(then  Sangamon)  County,  where  a  drove  of  hogs  was  to  be 
taken  on  board.  At  this  time,  the  hogs  of  the  region  ran 
wild,  as  they  do  now  in  portions  of  the  border  states.  Some 
of  them  were  savage,  and  all,  after  the  manner  of  swine, 
were  difficult  to  manage.  They  had,  however,  been  gathered 
and  penned,  but  not  an  inch  could  they  be  made  to  move 
toward  the  boat.  All  the  ordinary  resources  were  exhausted 
in  the  attempts  to  get  them  on  board.  There  was  but  one 
alternative,  and  this  Abraham  adopted.  He  actually  carried 
them  on  board,  one  by  one.  His  long  arms  and  great  strength 
enabled  him  to  grasp  them  as  in  a  vise,  and  to  transfer  them 
rapidly  from  the  shore  to  the  boat.  They  then  took  the  boat 


to  New  Orleans  substantially  on  the  original  contract,  though 
Hanks,  finding  that  he  would  be  obliged  to  be  absent  from 
his  family  longer  than  he  expected,  left  the  boat  at  St.  Louis, 
and  came  back. 

The  voyage  was  successfully  accomplished,  and  so  great 
was  the  satisfaction  of  Lincoln's  employer,  that  he  immediately 
proposed  to  him  a  different  and  higher  grade  of  employment. 
Offutt  had  a  store  at  New  Salem,  and  a  mill.  These  he  pro- 
posed to  place  in  Abraham's  care.  His  previous  clerks,  during 
his  long  absences,  had  not  only  cheated  him,  but,  by  their 
insolence  and  dissipated  habits,  had  driven  away  his  customers. 
Offutt  met  Lincoln  on  the  previous  winter  an  entire  stranger, 
but,  during  a  brief  intercourse,  he  had  become  impressed  with 
his  capacity  and  honesty.  So  Abraham  became  a  clerk  in  a 
pioneer  "  store."  He  had  not  many  personal  graces  to  exhibit 
there,  but  he  at  once  became  a  center  of  attraction.  Offutt's 
old  customers  came  back,  new  ones  were  acquired,  and  all  the 
business  of  tha  store  was  well  performed. 

It  Avas  while  performing  the  duties  of  this  new  position  that 
several  incidents  occurred  which  illustrated  the  young  man's 
characteristics.  He  could  not  rest  for  an  instant  under  the 
consciousness  that  he  had,  even  unwittingly,  defrauded  any- 
body. On  one  occasion  he  sold  a  woman  a  little  bill  of  goods 
amounting  in  value,  by  the  reckoning,  to  two  dollars  and  six 
and  a  quarter  cents.  He  received  the  money,  and  the  woman 
went  away.  On  adding  the  items  of  the  bill  again,  to  make 
himself  sure  of  correctness,  he  found  that  he  had  taken  six 
and  a  quarter  cents  too  much.  It  was  night,  and  closing  and 
locking  the  store,  he  started  out  on  foot,  a  distance  of  two  or 
three  miles,  for  the  house  of  his  defrauded  customer,  and 
delivering  over  to  her  the  sum  whose  possession  had  so  much 
troubled  him,  went  home  satisfied.  On  another  occasion,  just 
as  he  was  closing  the  store  for  the  night,  a  woman  entered, 
and  asked  for  half  a  pound  of  tea.  The  tea  was  weighed  out 
and  paid  for,  and  the  store  was  left  for  the  night.  The  next 
morning,  Abraham  entered  to  begin  the  duties  of  the  'day, 
when  he  discovered  a  four-ounce  weight  on  the  scales.  He 


saw  at  once  that  he  had  made  a  mistake,  and,  shutting  the 
store,  he  took  a  long  walk  before  breakfast  to  deliver  the 
remainder  of  the  tea.  These  are  very  humble  incidents,  but 
they  illustrate  the  man's  perfect  conscientiousness — his  sen- 
sitive honesty — better  perhaps  than  they  would  if  they  were 
of  greater  moment. 

Another  incident  occurred  in  this  store  which  illustrates 
other  traits  of  his  character.  While  showing  goods  to  two 
or  three  women,  a  bully  came  in  and  began  to  talk  in  an  offen- 
sive manner,  using  much  profanity,  and  evidently  wishing  to 
provoke  a  quarrel.  Lincoln  leaned  over  the  counter,  and 
begged  him,  as  ladies  were  present,  not  to  indulge  in  such 
talk.  The  bully  retorted  that  the  opportunity  had  come  for 
which  he  had  long  sought,  and  he  would  like  to  see  the  man 
who  could  hinder  him  from  saying  anything  he  might  choose 
to  say.  Lincoln,  still  cool,  told  him  that  if  he  would  wait 
until  the  ladies  retired,  he  would  hear  what  he  had  to  say, 
and  give  him  any  satisfaction  he  desired.  As  soon  as  the 
women  were  gone,  the  man  became  furious.  Lincoln  heard 
his  boasts  and  his  abuse  for  a  time,  and  finding  that  he  was 
not  to  be  put  off  without  a  fight,  said — "  well,  if  you  must  be 
whipped,  I  suppose  I  may  as  well  whip  you  as  any  other  man." 
This  was  just  what  the  bully  had  been  seeking,  he  said,  so 
out  of  doors  they  went,  and  Lincoln  made  short  work  with 
him.  He  threw  him  upon  the  ground,  held  him  there  as  if 
he  had  been  a  child,  and  gathering  some  "  smart-weed  "  which 
grew  upon  the  spot,  rubbed  it  into  his  face  and  eyes,  until  the 
fellow  bellowed  with  pain.  Lincoln  did  all  this  without  a 
particle  of  anger,  and  when  the  job  was  finished,  went  imme- 
diately for  water,  washed  his  victim's  face,  and  did  everything 
he  could  to  alleviate  his  distress.  The  upshot  of  the  matter 
was  that  the  man  became  his  fast  and  life-long  friend,  and  was 
a  better  man  from  that  day.  It  was  impossible  then,  and  it 
always  remained  impossible,  for  Lincoln  to  cherish  resentment 
or  revenge. 

There  lived  at  this  time,  in  and  around  New  Salem,  a  band 
of  rollicking  fellows  or,  more  properly,  roystering  roAvdies, 


known  as  "  The  Clary's  Grove  Boys."  The  special  tie  that 
united  them  was  physical  courage  and  prowess.  These  fel- 
lows, although  they  embraced  in  their  number  many  men  who 
have  since  become  respectable  and  influential,  were  wild  and 
rough  beyond  toleration  in  any  community  not  made  up  like 
that  which  produced  them.  They  pretended  to  be  "regula- 
tors," and  were  the  terror  of  all  who  did  not  acknowledge 
their  rule ;  and  their  mode  of  securing  allegiance  was  by  flog- 
ging every  man  who  failed  to  acknowledge  it.  They  took 
it  upon  themselves  to  try  the  mettle  of  every  new  comer,  and 
to  learn  the  sort  of  stuff  he  was  made  of.  Some  one  of  their 
number  was  appointed  to  fight,  wrestle,  or  run  a  foot-race, 
with  each  incoming  stranger.  Of  course,  Abraham  Lincoln 
was  obliged  to  pass  the  ordeal. 

Perceiving  that  he  was  a  man  who  would  not  easily  be 
floored,  they  selected  their  champion,  Jack  Armstrong,  and 
imposed  upon  him  the  task  of  laying  Lincoln  upon  his  back. 
There  is  no  evidence  that  Lincoln  was  an  unwilling  party  in 
the  sport,  for  it  was  what  he  had  always  been  accustomed  to. 
The  bout  was  entered  upon,  but  Armstrong  soon  discovered 
that  he  had  met  with  more  than  his  match.  The  "Boys" 
were  looking  on,  and,  seeing  that  their  champion  was  likely 
to  get  the  worst  of  it,  did  after  the  manner  of  such  irrespon- 
sible bands.  They  gathered  around  Lincoln,  struck  and  dis- 
abled him,  and  then  Armstrong,  by  "  legging  "  him,  got  him 

Most  men  would  have  been  indignant,  not  to  say  furiously 
angry,  under  such  foul  treatment  as  this ;  but  if  Lincoln  was 
either,  he  did  not  show  it.  Getting  up  in  perfect  good  humor, 
he  fell  to  laughing  over  his  discomfiture,  and  joking  about  it. 
They  had  all  calculated  upon  making  him  angry,  and  then 
they  intended,  with  the  amiable  spirit  which  characterized  the 
"  Clary's  Grove  Boys,"  to  give  him  a  terrible  drubbing.  They 
were  disappointed,  and,  in  their  admiration  of  him,  immedi- 
ately invited  him  to  become  one  of  the  company.  Strange  as 
it  may  seem,  this  was  the  turning  point,  apparently,  in  Lin- 
coln's life,  a  fact  which  will  appear  as  our  narrative  progresses. 


It  was  while  young  Lincoln  was  engaged  in  the  duties  of 
Offutt's  store  that  he  commenced  the  study  of  English  gram- 
mar. There  was  not  a  text-book  to  be  obtained  in  the 
neighborhood,  but  hearing  that  there  was  a  copy  of  Kirkham's 
grammar  in  the  possession  of  a  person  seven  or  eight  miles 
distant,  he  walked  to  his  house  and  succeeded  in  borrowing  it. 
L.  M.  Green,  a  lawyer  of  Petersburg,  in  Menard  County, 
says  that  every  time  he  visited  New  Salem,  at  this  period, 
Lincoln  took  him  out  upon  a  hill,  and  asked  him  to  explain 
some  point  in  Kirkham  that  had  given  him  trouble.  After 
having  mastered  the  book,  he  remarked  to  a  friend,  that  if  that 
was  what  they  called  a  science,  he  thought  he  could  "  subdue 
another."  Mr.  Green  says  that  Mr.  Lincoln's  talk  at  this 
time  showed  that  he  was  beginning  to  think  of  a  great  life, 
and  a  great  destiny.  Lincoln  said  to  him,  on  one  occasion, 
that  all  his  family  seemed  to  have  good  sense,  but,  somehow, 
none  had  ever  become  distinguished.  He  thought  that  per- 
haps he  might  become  so.  He  had  talked,  he  said,  with  men 
who  had  the  reputation  of  being  great  men,  but  he  could  not 
see  that  they  differed  much  from  others.  During  this  year,  he 
was  also  much  engaged  with  debating  clubs,  often  walking 
six  or  seven  miles  to  attend  them.  One  of  these  clubs  held 
its  meetings  at  an  old  store-house  in  New  Salem,  and  the  first 
speech  young  Lincoln  ever  made  was  made  there.  He  used 
to  call  the  exercise  "  practicing  polemics."  As  these  clubs 
were  composed  principally  of  men  of  no  education  whatever, 
some  of  their  "  polemics  "  are  remembered  as  the  most  laugh- 
able of  farces.  His  favorite  newspaper,  at  this  time,  was  the 
Louisville  Journal,  a  paper  which  he  received  regularly  by 
mail,  and  paid  for  during  a  number  of  years  when  he  had  not 
money  enough  to  dress  decently.  He  liked  its  politics,  and 
was  particularly  delighted  with  its  wit  and  humor,  of  which 
he  had  the  keenest  appreciation.  When  out  of  the  store,  he 
was  always  busy  in  the  pursuit  of  knowledge.  One  gentle- 
man who  met  him  during  this  period,  says  that  the  first  time 
he  saw  him  he  was  lying  on  a  trundle-bed,  covered  with  books 
and  papers,  and  rocking  a  cradle  with  his  foot.  Of  the 


amount  of  uncovered  space  between  the  extremities  of  his 
trousers  and  the  top  of  his  socks  which  this  informant  ob- 
served, there  shall  be  no  mention.  The  whole  scene,  however, 
was  entirely  characteristic — Lincoln  reading  and  studying, 
and  at  the  same  time  helping  his  landlady  by  quieting  her 

During  the  year  that  Lincoln  was  in  Denton  Offutt's  store, 
that  gentleman,  whose  business  was  somewhat  widely  and 
unwisely  spread  about  the  country,  ceased  to  prosper  in  his 
finances,  and  finally  failed.  The  store  was  shut  up,  the  mill 
was  closed,  and  Abraham  Lincoln  was  out  of  business.  The 
year  had  been  one  of  great  advances,  in  many  respects.  He 
had  made  new  and  valuable  acquaintances,  read  many  books, 
mastered  the  grammar  of  his  own  tongue,  won  multitudes  of 
friends,  and  become  ready  for  a  step  still  further  in  advance. 
Those  who  could  appreciate  brains,  respected  him,  and  those 
whose  highest  ideas  of  a  man  related  to  his  muscles  were  de- 
voted to  him.  Every  one  trusted  him.  It  was  while  he  was 
performing  the  duties  of  the  store  that  he  acquired  the  sou- 
briquet "  Honest  Abe  " — a  characterization  that  he  never  dis- 
honored, and  an  abbreviation  that  he  never  outgrew.  He  was 
judge,  arbitrator,  referee,  umpire,  authority,  in  all  disputes, 
games  and  matches  of  man-flesh  and  horse-flesh ;  a  pacificator 
in  all  quarrels;  every  body's  friend;  the  best  natured,  the 
most  sensible,  the  best  informed,  the  most  modest  and  unas- 
suming, the  kindest,  gentlest,  roughest,  strongest,  best  young 
fellow  in  all  New  Salem  and  the  region  round  about. 


DURIXG  the  year  that  Lincoln  was  in  the  employ  of  Offutt, 
a  series  of  Indian  difficulties  were  in  progress  in  the  state. 
Black  Hawk,  a  celebrated  chief  of  the  Sacs,  a  tribe  that  by 
the  terms  of  a  treaty  entered  into  near  the  beginning  of  the 
century,  were  permanently  removed  to  the  western  bank  of 
the  Mississippi,  came  down  the  river  with  three  hundred  of 
his  own  warriors,  and  a  few  allies  from  the  Kickapoos  and 
Pottawatornies,  accompanied  also  by  his  women  and  children, 
and  crossed  to  the  eastern  side  with  the  avowed  intention  of 
taking  possession  of  the  old  hunting  grounds  of  the  nation  on 
the  Rock  River.  As  he  was  committing  numerous  outrages 
on  the  way,  General  Gaines,  commanding  the  United  States 
forces  in  that  quarter,  immediately  marched  a  few  companies 
of  regulars  to  Rock  Island,  where  he  took  up  his  position. 
Governor  Reynolds  seconded  his  efforts  by  sending  to  him 
several  hundred  volunteers,  recruited  in  the  northern  and  cen- 
tral portions  of  the  state.  Black  Hawk,  not  being  able  to 
meet  the  force  thus  assembled,  retreated,  and,  on  receiving 
from  General  Gaines  a  threat  to  cross  the  river  and  chastise 
him  on  his  own  ground,  sued  for  peace,  and  reaffirmed  all  the 
terms  of  the  old  treaty  which  confined  him  to  the  western 
shore  of  the  Mississippi. 

The  old  chief  proved  treacherous  again,  and  showed  in  the 
spring  of  1832  that  his  treaty  was  simply  an  expedient  for 
gaining  time,  and  raising  a  larger  force.  He  gathered  his 
warriors  in  large  numbers,  and  crossed  the  river  with  the 


intention,  as  he  openly  declared,  of  ascending  the  Rock  River 
to  the  territory  of  the  Winnebagoes,  among  whom  he  doubt- 
less hoped  to  receive  reinforcements.  Warned  back  by  Gen- 
eral Atkinson,  then  commanding  the  United  States  troops  on 
Kock  Island,  he  returned  a  defiant  message,  and  kept  on.  In 
this  threatening  aspect  of  affairs,  Governor  Reynolds  issued  a 
call  for  volunteers,  and  among  the  companies  that  immediately 
responded  was  one  from  Menard  County.  Many  of  the  vol- 
unteers were  from  New  Salem  and  Clary's  Grove,  and  Lincoln, 
being  out  of  business,  was  the  first  to  enlist.  The  company 
being  full,  they  held  a  meeting  at  Richland  for  the  election  of 
officers;  and  now  the  influence  of  the  Clary's  Grove  Boys 
was  felt.  Lincoln  had  completely  won  their  hearts,  and  they 
told  him  that  he  must  be  their  captain.  It  was  an  office  that 
he  did  not  aspire  to,  and  one  for  which  he  felt  that  he  had  no 
special  fitness ;  but  he  consented  to  be  a  candidate.  There 
was  but  one  other  candidate  for  the  office,  (a  Mr.  Kirkpat- 
rick,)  and  he  was  one  of  the  most  influential  men  in  the 
county.  Previously,  Kirkpatnck  had  been  an  employer  of 
Lincoln,  and  was  so  overbearing  in  his  treatment  of  the 
young  man  that  the  latter  left  him. 

The  simple  mode  of  electing  their  captain,  adopted  by  the 
company,  was  by  placing  the  candidates  apart,  and  telling  the 
men  to  go  and  stand  with  the  One  they  preferred.  Lincoln 
and  his  competitor  took  their  positions,  and  then  the  word 
was  given.  At  least  three  out  of  every  four  went  to  Lincoln 
at  once.  When  it  was  seen  by  those  who  had  ranged  them- 
selves with  the  other  candidate  that  Lincoln  was  the  choice 
of  the  majority  of  the  company,  they  left  their  places,  one  by 
one,  and  came  over  to  the  successful  side,  until  Lincoln's  op- 
ponent in  the  friendly  strife  was  left  standing  almost  alone. 
44 1  felt  badly  to  see  him  cut  so,"  says  a  witness  of  the  scene. 
Here  Was  an  opportunity  for  revenge.  The  humble  laborer 
was  his  employer's  captain,  but  the  opportunity  was  never 
improved.  Mr.  Lincoln  frequently  confessed  that  no  subse- 
quent success  of  his  life  had  given  him  half  the  satisfaction 
that  this  election  did.  He  had  achieved  public  recognition ; 


and  to  one  so  humbly  bred  the  distinction  was  inexpressibly 

Captain  Lincoln's  company  and  several  others  formed  in  the 
vicinity,  were  ordered  to  rendezvous  at  Beardstown,  on  the 
Illinois  River,  and  here  for  the  first  time  he  met  the  Hon. 
John  T.  Stuart,  a  gentleman  who  was  destined  to  have  an 
important  influence  upon  his  life.  Stuart  was  a  lawyer  by 
profession,  and  commanded  one  of  the  Sangamon  County  com- 
panies. Captain  Stuart  was  soon  afterwards  elected  Major 
of  a  spy  battalion,  formed  from  some  of  these  companies,  and 
had  the  best  opportunities  to  observe  the  merits  of  Captain 
Lincoln.  He  testifies  that  Lincoln  was  exceedingly  popular 
among  the  soldiers,  in  consequence  of  his  excellent  care  of 
the  men  in  his  command,  his  never-failing  good  nature,  and 
his  ability  to  tell  more  stories  and  better  ones  than  any  man 
in  the  service.  He  was  popular  also  among  these  hardy  men 
on  account  of  his  great  physical  strength.  Wrestling  was  an 
every-day  amusement,  in  which  athletic  game  Lincoln  had 
but  one  superior  in  the  army.  One  Thompson  was  Lincoln's 
superior  in  "  science,"  and  vanquished  everybody  rather  by 
superior  skill  than  by  superior  muscular  power. 

On  the  27th  of  April,  the  force  at  Beardstown  moved.  A 
few  days  of  severe  marching  took  the  troops  to  the  mouth  of 
Hock  River.  It  was  there  arranged  with  General  Atkinson 
that  they  should  proceed  up  the  river  to  Prophetstown, 
where  they  were  to  await  the  arrival  of  the  regulars.  General 
"Whiteside,  in  command  of  the  volunteers,  disregarding  the 
arrangement  for  some  reason,  burnt  the  Prophet's  village,  and 
advanced  up  the  stream  forty  miles  further,  to  Dixon's  Ferry. 
These  marches  were  severe ;  but  to  men  bred  as  Captain  Lin- 
coln had  been,  they  were  but  the  repetition  of  every-day 
hardships,  under  more  exciting  motives. 

Before  arriving  at  Dixon's  Ferry,  the  army  halted,  and 
leaving  behind  their  baggage-wagons,  made  a  forced  march 
upon  the  place.  Arriving  there,  scouting  parties  were  sent 
out  to  ascertain  the  position  of  the  enemy.  At  this  time  they 
were  joined  by  two  battalions  of  mounted  volunteers  from 


the  region  of  Peoria,  who,  having  a  taste  for  a  little  fighting 
on  their  own  responsibility,  had  rashly  engaged  Black  Hawk, 
and  had  been  chased  in  disorder  from  the  field  of  their  boyish 
adventure,  leaving  eleven  of  their  number  behind  them  dead, — 
an  event  which  has  passed  into  history  with  the  title  of  "  Still- 
man's  Defeat."  They  came  to  General  Whiteside  panic- 
stricken,  and  a  council  of  war  was  immediately  held  which 
resulted  in  the  determination  to  march  at  once  to  the  scene 
of  the  disaster.  A  battle  seemed  imminent,  but  the  wily  sav- 
ages had  anticipated  the  movement,  and  not  one  was  found. 
They  had  pushed  further  up  the  river,  and  broken  up  into 
predatory  and  foraging  bands,  one  of  which  pounced  upon  a 
settlement  near  Ottowa,  murdered  fifteen  persons,  and  carried 
two  young  women  away  captive. 

General  Whiteside,  finding  the  enemy  escaped,  buried  the 
dead  of  the  day  before,  returned  to  camp,  and  was  soon  joined 
by  General  Atkinson  with  his  troops  and  supplies.  The 
twenty-four  hundred  men  thus  brought  together  made  a  force 
sufficiently  large  to  annihilate  Black  Hawk's  army,  if  they 
could  have  brought  the  cunning  warrior  to  a  fight,  but  this 
was  impossible.  Here  a  new  trouble  arose.  The  troops  had 
volunteered  for  a  limited  period,  and,  as  their  time  had  nearly 
expired,  and  they  were  surfeited  with  hardship  without  glory, 
they  clamored  to  be  discharged,  and  Governor  Reynolds  yield- 
ed to  their  demands.  The  danger  still  continuing,  he  issued 
another  call  for  volunteers.  Captain  Lincoln  was  among  those 
who  had  not  had  enough  of  the  war.  He  had  volunteered 
for  a  purpose,  and  he  did  not  intend  to  leave  the  service  until 
the  purpose  was  accomplished.  The  Governor,  in  addition 
to  his  general  call  for  volunteers,  asked  for  the  formation  of  a 
volunteer  regiment  from  those  just  discharged.  General 
Whiteside  himself  immediately  re-enlisted  as  a  private,  as  did 
also  Captain  Lincoln.  Then  followed  a  whole  month  of  march- 
ing and  maneuvering,  without  satisfactory  results.  There  was 
some  fighting  near  Galena,  and  a  skirmish  at  Burr-Oak  Grove, 
but  there  was  not  enough  of  excitement  and  success  to  keep 
the  restless  spirits  of  the  volunteers  contented,  and  many  of 


them  deserted.  Indeed,  the  force  became  reduced  to  one-half 
of  its  original  numbers.  Lincoln,  however,  remained  true  to 
his  obligations,  although  it  was  not  his  good  fortune  to  par- 
ticipate in  the  engagements  which  brought  the  war  to  a  speedy 
close.  The  Indians  were  overtaken  at  last  by  a  force  under 
General  Henry.  The  pursuit  had  led  them  to  the  Wisconsin 
River,  and  here  the  Indians  were  found  in  full  retreat.  They 
were  charged  upon,  and  driven  in  great  confusion.  Sixty- 
eight  Indians  were  killed,  a  large  number  wounded,  and  at 
last,  just  as  the  savages  were  crossing  the  Mississippi,  the 
battle  of  Bad- Ax  was  fought  which  resulted  in  the  capture 
of  Black  Hawk  himself,  with  nearly  all  his  warriors. 

The  Black  Hawk  war  was  not  a  very  remarkable  affair. 
It  made  no  military  reputations,  but  it  was  noteworthy  in  the 
single  fact  that  the  two  simplest,  homeliest  and  truest  men 
engaged  in  it  afterward  became  Presidents  of  the  United 
States,  viz :  General  ( then  Colonel )  Zachary  Taylor,  and 
Abraham  Lincoln.  Mr.  Lincoln  never  spoke  of  it  as  anything 
more  than  an  interesting  episode  in  his  life,  except  upon  one 
occasion  when  he  used  it  as  an  instrument  for  turning  the 
military  pretensions  of  another  into  ridicule.  The  friends  of 
General  Cass,  when  that  gentleman  was  a  candidate  for  the 
presidency,  endeavored  to  endow  him  with  a  military  reputa- 
tion. Mr.  Lincoln,  at  that  time  a  representative  in  Congress, 
delivered  a  speech  before  the  House,  which,  in  its  allusions  to 
General  Cass,  was  exquisitely  sarcastic  and  irresistibly  humor- 
ous. "  By  the  way,  Mr.  Speaker,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "  do 
you  know  I  am  a  military  hero  ?  Yes,  sir,  in  the  days  of  the 
Black  Hawk  war,  I  fought,  bled  and  came  away.  Speaking 
of  General  Cass's  career  reminds  me  of  my  own.  I  was  not 
at  Stillman's  Defeat,  but  I  was  about  as  near  it  as  Cass  to 
Hull's  surrender ;  and  like  him  I  saw  the  place  very  soon 
afterward.  It  is  quite  certain  I  did  not  break  my  sword,  for 
I  had  none  to  break ;  but  I  bent  my  musket  pretty  badly  on 
one  occasion.  *  *  *  If  General  Cass  went  in  advance  of  me 
in  picking  whortleberries,  I  guess  I  surpassed  him  in  charges 
upon  the  wild  onions.  If  he  saw  any  live,  fighting  Indians, 


it  was  more  than  I  did,  but  I  had  a  good  many  bloody  struggles 
with  the  mosquitoes ;  and  although  I  never  fainted  from  loss 
of  blood,  I  can  truly  say  I  was  often  very  hungry."  Mr. 
Lincoln  then  went  on  to  say  that  if  he  should  ever  turn  dem- 
ocrat, and  be  taken  up  as  a  candidate  for  the  presidency  by 
the  democratic  party,  he  hoped  they  would  not  make  fun  of 
him  by  attempting  to  make  of  him  a  military  hero.  He  lived 
to  see  himself  the  candidate  of  another  party,  and  witnessed 
a  decided  disposition  on  the  part  of  his  campaign  biographers 
to  make  a  little  political  capital  for  him  out  of  his  connection 
with  the  Black  Hawk  war — an  attempt  which  must  have  ap- 
pealed to  his  quick  sense  of  the  ludicrous,  as  well  as  recalled 
the  speech  from  which  an  extract  has  been  quoted. 

The  soldiers  from  Sangamon  County  arrived  home  just  ten 
days  before  the  state  election,  and  Mr.  Lincoln  was  immedi- 
ately applied  to  for  permission  to  place  his  name  among  the 
candidates  for  the  legislature.  He  was  then  but  twenty-three 
years  old,  had  but  just  emerged  from  obscurity,  and  had  been 
but  a  short  time  a  resident  of  the  county.  The  application 
was  a  great  surprise  to  him.  Indeed,  aside  from  the  evidence 
of  personal  and  neighborhood  friendship  which  it  afforded  him, 
the  surprise  could  hardly  have  been  a  pleasant  one,  for  his 
political  convictions  had  placed  him  among  those  who  were  in 
almost  a  hopeless  minority.  Party  feeling  ran  high  between 
the  friends  of  General  Jackson  and  Henry  Clay,  but  the 
friends  of  Mr.  Clay  had  little  power.  Illinois  was  strongly 
democratic  and  for  many  years  remained  so.  His  opponents 
in  the  canvass  were  well  known  men,  and  had  shown  them- 
selves and  made  their  speeches  throughout  the  county;  yet 
in  Mr.  Lincoln's  own  precinct  he  was  voted  for  alike  by  po- 
litical friend  and  foe.  The  official  vote  of  the  New  Salem 
precinct,  as  shown  by  the  poll-book  in  the  clerk's  office  at 
Springfield,  was,  at  this  time,  for  Congress  :  Jonathan  H. 
Pugh  179,  Joseph  Duncan  97  ;  while  the  vote  for  Abraham 
Lincoln  for  the  legislature  was  277,  or  one  more  than  the  ag- 
gregate for  both  the  candidates  for  Congress.  This  vote  was 
undoubtedly  the  result  of  the  personal  popularity  acquired  by 


Lincoln  during  his  brief  military  campaign.  All  his  soldiers 
voted  for  him,  and  worked  for  his  election  wherever  they  had 
influence.  But  he  was  defeated  on  the  general  vote,  and  im- 
mediately looked  about  to  find  what  there  was  for  him  to  do. 

It  is  interesting  to  recall  the  fact  that  at  this  time  he 
seriously  took  into  consideration  the  project  of  learning  the 
blacksmith's  trade.  He  was  without  means,  and  felt  the  im- 
mediate necessity  of  undertaking  some  business  that  would 
give  him  bread.  It  was  while  he  was  entertaining  this  project 
that  an  event  occurred  which,  in  his  undetermined  state  of 
mind,  seemed  to  open  a  way  to  success  in  another  quarter. 
A  man  named  Reuben  Radford,  the  keeper  of  a  small  store  in 
the  village  of  New  Salem,  had  somehow  incurred  the  dis- 
pleasure of  the  Clary's  Grove  Boys,  who  had  exercised  their 
"regulating"  prerogatives  by  irregularly  breaking  in  his 
windows.  William  G.  Greene,  a  friend  of  young  Lincoln, 
riding  by  Radford's  store  soon  afterward,  was  hailed  by  him, 
and  told  that  he  intended  to  sell  out.  Mr.  Greene  went  into 
the  store,  and,  looking  around,  offered  him  at  random  four 
hundred  dollars  for  his  stock.  The  offer  was  immediately 
accepted.  Lincoln  happening  in  the  next  day,  and  being 
familiar  with  the  value  of  the  goods,  Mr.  Greene  proposed  to 
him  to  take  an  inventory  of  the  stock,  and  see  what  sort  of  a 
bargain  he  had  made.  This  he  did,  and  it  was  found  that  the 
goods  were  worth  six  hundred  dollars.  Lincoln  then  made 
him  an  offer  of  a  hundred  and  twenty-five  dollars  for  his  bar- 
gain, with  the  proposition  that  he  and  a  man  named  Berry, 
as  his  partner,  should  take  his  (Greene's)  place  in  the  notes 
given  to  Radford.  Mr.  Greene  agreed  to  the  arrangement, 
but  Radford  declined  it,  except  on  condition  that  Greene 
would  be  their  security,  and  this  he  at  last  assented  to. 

Berry  proved  to  be  a  dissipated,  trifling  man,  and  the  busi- 
ness soon  became  a  wreck.  Mr.  Greene  was  obliged  to  go 
in  and  help  Lincoln  close  it  up,  and  not  only  do  this  but  pay 
Radford's  notes.  All  that  young  Lincoln  won  from  the  store 
was  some  very  valuable  experience,  and  the  burden  of  a  debt 
to  Greene  which,  in  his  conversations  with  the  latter,  he 


i      . 

always  spoke  of  as  "  the  national  debt."  But  this  national 
debt,  unlike  the  majority  of  those  which  bear  the  title,  was 
paid  to  the  utmost  farthing 'in  after  years.  Six  years  after- 
Wards,  Mr.  Greene,  who  knew  nothing  of  tlte  law  in  such 
cases,  and  had  not  troubled  himself  to  inquire  about  it,  and 
who  had,  in  the  meantime,  removed  to  Tennessee,  received 
notice  from  Mr.  Lincoln  that  he  was  ready  to  pay  him  what 
he  had  paid  for  Berry — he,  Lincoln,  being  legally  bound  to  pay 
the  liabilities  of  his  partner. 

About  this  time  Mr.  Lincoln  was  appointed  postmaster  by 
President  Jackson.  The  office  was  too  insignificant  to  be 
considered  politically,  and  it  was  given  to  the  young  man 
because  everybody  liked  him,  and  because  he  was  the  only  man 
willino-  to  take  it  who  could  make  out  the  returns.  He  was 


exceedingly  pleased  with  the  appointment,  because  it  gave  him 
a  chance  to  read  every  newspaper  that  was  taken  in  the  vicin- 
ity. He  had  never  been  able  to  get  half  the  newspapers  he 
wanted  before,  and  the  office  gave  him  the  prospect  of  a  con- 
stant feast.  Not  wishing  to  be  tied  to  the  office,  as  it  yielded 
him  no  revenue  that  would  reward  him  for  the  confinement, 
he  made  a  post-office  of  his  hat.  Whenever  he  went  out, 
the  letters  were  placed  in  his  hat.  When  an  anxious  looker 
for  a  letter  found  the  postmaster,  he  had  found  his  office ; 
and  the  public  officer,  taking  off  his  hat,  looked  over  his  mail 
wherever  the  public  might  find  him.  He  kept  the  office 
until  it  was  discontinued,  or  removed  to  Petersburgh. 

One  of  the  most  beautiful  exhibitions  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  rigid 
honesty  occurred  in  connection  with  the  settlement  of  his 
accounts  with  the  post-office  department,  several  years  after- 
wards. It  was  after  he  had  become  a  lawyer,  and  had  been 
a  legislator.  He  had  passed  through  a  period  of  great  poverty, 
had  acquired  his  education  in  the  law  in  the  midst  of  many 
perplexities,  inconveniences  and  hardships,  and  had  met  with 
temptations,  such  as  few  men  could  resist,  to  make  a  tempo- 
rary use  of  any  money  he  might  have  in  his  hands.  One  day, 
seated  in  the  law  office  of  his  partner,  the  agent  of  the  post- 
office  department  entered,  and  inquired  if  Abraham  Lincoln 


was  within.  Mr.  Lincoln  responded  to  his  name,  and  was 
informed  that  the  agent  had  called  to  collect  a  balance  due 
the  department  since  the  discontinuance  of  the  New  Salem 
office.  A  shade  of  perplexity  passed  over  Mr.  Lincoln's  face, 
which  did  not  escape  the  notice  of  friends  who  were  present. 
One  of  them  said  at  once  :  "  Lincoln,  if  you  are  in  want  of 
money,  let  us  help  you."  He  made  no  reply,  but  suddenly 
rose,  and  pulled  out  from  a  pile  of  books  a  little  old  trunk, 
and,  returning  to  the  table,  asked  the  agent  how  much  the 
amount  of  his  debt  was.  The  sum  was  named,  and  then 
Mr.  Lincoln  opened  the  trunk,  pulled  out  a  little  package  of 
coin  wrapped  in  a  cotton  rag,  and  counted  out  the  exact  sum, 
amounting  to  something  more  than  seventeen  dollars.  After 
the  agent  had  left  the  room,  he  remarked  quietly  that  he  never 
used  any  man's  money  but  his  own.  Although  this  sum  had 
been  in  his  hands  during  all  these  years,  he  had  never  regarded 
it  as  available,  even  for  any  temporary  purpose  of  his  own. 

The  store  having  "  winked  out,"  to  use  his  own  expression, 
he  was  ready  for  something  else,  and  it  came  from  an  unex- 
pected quarter.  John  Calhoun,  a  resident  of  Springfield, 
and  since  notorious  as  President  of  the  Lecompton  Constitu- 
tional Convention,  in  Kansas,  was  the  surveyor  of  Sangamon 
County.  The  constant  influx  of  immigrants  made  his  office  a 
busy  one,  and,  looking  around  for  assistance,  he  fixed  upon 
Lincoln,  and  deputed  to  him  all  his  work  in  the  immediate 
vicinity  of  New  Salem.  Lincoln  had  not  the  slightest  knowl- 
edge of  surveying,  and  but  the  slenderest  acquaintance  with 
the  science  upon  which  it  was  based.  He  would  be  obliged  to 
fit  himself  for  his  work  in  the  shortest  possible  time,  and  he 
did.  Mr.  Calhoun  lent  him  a  copy  of  Flint  and  Gibson,  and 
after  a  brief  period  of  study,  he  procured  a  compass  and  chain 
(the  old  settlers  say  that  his  first  chain  was  a  grape-vine,)  and 
went  at  his  work.  The  work  procured  bread,  and,  what 
seemed  quite  as  essential  to  him,  books ;  for  during  all  these 
months  he  was  a  close  student,  and  a  constant  reader.  Mr. 
Lincoln  surveyed  the  present  town  of  Petersburgh,  and  much 
of  the  adjacent  territory.  He  pursued  this  business  steadily 


for  a  year  or  more,  and  with  sueh  success  that  the  accuracy 
of  his  surveys  has  sever  been  called  in  question.  One  inter- 
ruption must  have  occurred  in  his  work,  though  it  was  brief. 
His  compass  and  chain  were  attached  and  sold  to  pay  a  debt 
of  Berry's,  for  which  he  was  surety,  but  they  were  bought 
by  a  man  named  James  Short,  who  immediately  gave  them 
back  to  him. 


HITHERTO  the  life  of  our  subject  has  run  in  a  single  stream. 
His  history  thus  far  has  related  to  his  private  career — to  his 
birth,  education,  growth  of  mind  and  character,  and  personal 
struggles.  Before  entering  upon  that  period  of  his  life 
through  which  we  are  to  trace  a  double  current,  a  private  and 
a  public  one,  it  will  be  proper  to  inquire  what  kind  of  a  man 
he  had  become. 

No  man  ever  lived,  probably,  who  was  more  a  self-made  man 
than  Abraham  Lincoln.  Not  a  circumstance  of  his  life 
favored  the  development  which  he  had  reached.  He  was 
self-moved  to  study  under  the  most  discouraging  conditions. 
He  had  few  teachers,  few  books,  and  no  intellectual  compan- 
ions. His  father  could  neither  read  nor  write.  His  mother 
died  when  he  was  a  child.  He  had  none  of  those  personal 
attractions  which  would  naturally  enlist  the  sympathies  and 
assistance  of  any  refined  men  and  women  with  whom  he  must 
occasionally  have  come  in  contact.  He  was  miserably  poor, 
and  was  compelled  to  labor  among  poor  people  to  win  his  daily 
bread.  There  was  not  an  influence  around  him  except  that 
left  upon  him  by  his  "  angel  mother,"  which  did  not  tend 
rather  to  drag  him  down  than  lift  him  up.  He  was  not  en- 
dowed with  a  hopeful  temperament.  He  had  no  force  of  self- 
esteem — no  faith  in  himself  that  buoyed  him  up  amid  the 
contempt  of  the  proud  and  prosperous.  He  Avas  altogether  a 
humble  man — humble  in  condition,  and  humble  in  spirit. 
Yet,  by  the  love  of  that  which  was  good  and  great  and  true, 


anil  by  the  hunger  and  thirst  of  a  noble  nature,  he  was  led  to 
the  acquisition  of  a  practical  education,  and  to  the  develop- 
ment of  all  those  peculiar  powers  that  were  latent  within  him. 

He  was  loyal  to  his  convictions.  There  is  no  doubt  that  at 
this  time  lie  had  begun  to  think  of  political  life.  He  was,  at 
least,  thoroughly  conversant  with  the  politics  of  his  own  state 
and  of  the  country.  There  was  not  a  more  diligent  reader  of 
political  newspapers  than  he.  He  had  become  familiar  with 
the  position  and  history  of  the  politicians  and  statesmen  of  the 
country,  and  must  have  been  entirely  aware  of  the  unpopularity 
of  those  toward  whom  his  judgment  and  sympathies  led  him. 
That  he  Avas  then,  and  always  remained,  an  ambitious  man, 
there  is  no  question ;  and  with  this  fact  in  mind  we  can  measure 
the  sacrifice  which  adherence  to  his  convictions  cost  him.  His 
early  love  of  Henry  Clay  has  already  been  noticed;  and  this 
love  for  the  great  Kentuckian,  though  circumstances  modified 
it  somewhat,  never  ceased.  He  clung  to  him  with  the  warmest 
affection  through  the  most  of  his  life,  pronounced  his  eulogy 
when  he  died,  and  stood  firmly  by  the  principles  which  he 
represented.  In  a  state  overwhelmingly  democratic,  he  took 
his  position  with  the  minority,  and  steadily  adhered  to  the 
opposition  against  all  the  temptations  to  quick  and  certain 
success  which  desertion  would  bring  him. 

He  was  a  marked  and  peculiar  man.  People  talked  about 
him.  His  studious  habits,  his  greed  for  information,  his 
thorough  mastery  of  the  difficulties  of  every  new  position  in 
which  he  was  placed,  his  intelligence  touching  all  matters  of 
public  concern,  his  unwearying  good  nature,  his  skill  in  telling 
a  story,  his  great  athletic  power,  his  quaint,  odd  ways,  his 
uncouth  appearance,  all  tended  to  bring  him  into  sharp  con- 
trast with  the  dull  mediocrity  by  which  he  was  surrounded. 
Denton  Offutt,  his  old  employer  in  the  store,  said,  in  the  ex- 
travagance of  his  admiration,  that  he  knew  more  than  any 
other  man  in  the  United  States.  The  Governor  of  Indiana, 
one  of  Offutt's  acquaintances,  said,  after  having  a  conversation 
with  Lincoln,  that  the  young  man  "  had  talent  enough  in  him 
to  make  a  President."  In  every  circle  in  which  he  found 


himself,  whether  refined  or  coarse,  he  was  always  the  center 
of  attraction.  William  G.  Greene  says  that  when  he  (Greene) 
was  a  member  of  Illinois  college,  he  brought  home  with  him, 
on  a  vacation,  Richard  Yates,  the  present  Governor  of  the 
state,  and  some  other  boys,  and,  in  order  to  entertain  them, 
took  them  all  up  to  see  Lincoln.  He  found  him  in  his  iisual 
position  and  at  his  usual  occupation.  He  was  flat  on  his  back, 
on  a  cellar  door,  reading  a  newspaper.  That  was  the  manner 
in  which  a  President  of  the  United  States  and  a  Governor  of 
Illinois  became  acquainted  with  one  another.  Mr.  Greene 
says  that  Lincoln  then  could  repeat  the  whole  of  Burns,  and 
was  a  devoted  student  of  Shakspeare.  So  the  rough  back- 
woodsman, self-educated,  entertained  the  college  boys,  and 
was  invited  to  dine  with  them  on  bread  and  milk.  How  he 
managed  to  upset  his  bowl  of  milk  is  not  a  matter  of  history, 
but  the  fact  that  he  did  so  is,  as  is  the  further  fact  that  Greene's 
mother,  who  loved  Lincoln,  tried  to  smooth  over  the  accident, 
and  relieve  the  young  man's  embarrassment. 

Wherever  he  moved  he  found  men  and  women  to  respect 
and  love  him.  One  man  who  knew  him  at  that  time  says 
that  "Lincoln  had  nothing,  only  plenty  of  friends."  And 
these  friends  trusted  him  wholly,  and  were  willing  to  be  led 
by  him.  His  unanimous  election  as  Captain  in  the  Black 
Hawk  war,  and  the  unanimous  vote  given  him  for  the  legis- 
lature by  political  friend  and  foe,  wherever  in  the  county  he 
was  known,  illustrates  his  wonderful  popularity.  All  the 
circumstances  considered,  it  was  probably  without  a  precedent 
or  parallel.  When  we  remember  that  this  popularity  was 
achieved  without  any  direct  attempt  to  win  it — that  he  flat- 
tered nobody,  made  no  pretensions  whatever,  and  was  the 
plainest  and  poorest  man  in  his  precinct,  we  can  appreciate 
something  of  the  strength  of  his  character  and  the  beauty  and 
purity  of  his  life.  He  aroused  no  jealousies,  for  he  was  not 
selfish.  lie  made  no  enemies,  because  he  felt  kindly  toward 
every  man.  People  were  glad  to  see  him  rise,  because  it 
seemed  just  that  he  should  rise.  Indeed,  all  seemed  glad  to 
lielp  him  along. 


He  was  a  man  of  practical  expedients.  He  always  found 
some  way  to  get  out  of  difficulties,  whether  moral  or  mechan- 
ical, and  was  equally  ingenious  in  his  expedients  for  escaping 
or  surmounting  each  variety.  Governor  Yates,  in  a  speech 
at  Springfield,  before  a  meeting  at  which  William  G.  Greene 
presided,  quoted  Mr.  Greene  as  having  said  that  the  first  time 
he  ever  saw  Lincoln  he  was  "in  the  Sangamon  River,  with 
his  trousers  rolled  up  five  feet  more  or  less,  trying  to  pilot  a 
flat-boat  over  a  mill-dam.  The  boat  was  so  full  of  water  that 
it  was  hard  to  manage.  Lincoln  got  the  prow  over,  and  then, 
instead  of  waiting  to  bail  the  water  out,  bored  a  hole  through 
the  projecting  part,  and  let  it  run  out."  Barring  a  little 
western  extravagance  in  the  statement  of  a  measurement, 
the  incident  is  truly  recorded ;  and  it  illustrates  more  forcibly 
than  words  can  describe  the  man's  ingenuity  in  the  quick  in- 
vention of  moral  expedients,  then  and  afterwards.  His  life 
had  been  a  life  of  expedients.  He  had  always  been  engaged 
in  making  the  best  of  bad  conditions  and  untoward  circum- 
stances, and  in  meeting  and  mastering  emergencies.  Among 
those  who  did  not  understand  him,  he  had  the  credit  or  the 
discredit,  of  being  a  cunning  man  ;  but  cunning  was  not  at  all 
an  element  of  his  nature  or  character.  He  was  simply  in- 
genious ;  he  was  wonderfully  ingenious ;  but  he  was  not 
cunning.  Cunning  is,  or  tries  to  be,  far-sighted;  ingenuity 
disposes  of  occasions.  Cunning  contrives  plots;  ingenuity 
dissolves  them.  Cunning  sets  traps;  ingenuity  evades  them. 
Cunning  envelops  its  victims  in  difficulties;  ingenuity  helps 
them  out  of  them.  Cunning  is  the  offspring  of  selfishness; 
ingenuity  is  the  child  or  companion  of  practical  wisdom.  He 
took  his  boat  safely  over  a  great  many  mill-dams  during  his 
life,  but  always  by  an  expedient. 

He  was  a  religious  man.  The  fact  may  be  stated  without 
any  reservation — with  only  an  explanation.  He  believed  in 
GoJ,  and  in  his  personal  supervision  of  the  affairs  of  men. 
He  believed  himself  to  be  under  his  control  and  guidance. 
He  believed  in  the  power  and  ultimate  triumph  of  the  right, 
through  his  belief  in  God.  This  unwavering  faith  in  a  Divine 


Providence  began  at  his  mother's  knee,  and  ran  like  a  thread 
of  gold  through  all  the  inner  experiences  of  his  life.  His 
constant  sense  of  human  duty  was  one  of  the  forms  by  which 
his  faith  manifested  itself.  His  conscience  took  a  broader 
grasp  than  the  simple  apprehension  of  right  and  wrong.  He 
recognized  an  immediate  relation  between  God  and  himself,  in 
all  the  actions  and  passions  of  his  life.  He  was  not  pro- 
fessedly a  Christian — that  is,  he  subscribed  to  no  creed, — 
joined  no  organization  of  Christian  disciples.  He  spoke  little 
then,  perhaps  less  than  he  did  afterward,  and  always  sparingly, 
of  his  religious  belief  and  experiences;  but  that  he  had  a 
deep  religious  life,  sometimes  imbued  with  superstition,  there 
is  no  doubt.  We  guess  at  a  mountain  of  marble  by  the  out- 
cropping ledges  that  hide  their  whiteness  among  the  ferns. 

At  this  period  of  his  life  he  had  not  exhibited  in  any  form 
that  has  been  preserved,  those  logical  and  reasoning  powers 
that  so  greatly  distinguished  him  during  his  subsequent  public 
career.  The  little  clubs  at  and  around  New  Salem  where  he 
"practiced  polemics"  kept  no  records,  and  have  published  no 
reports.  The  long  talks  in  Offutt's  store,  on  the  flat-boat,  on 
the  farm  and  by  the  cabin  fireside  have  not  been  preserved ; 
but  there  is  no  doubt  that  the  germ  of  the  power  was  within 
him,  and  that  the  peculiarity  of  his  education  developed  it 
into  the  remarkable  and  unique  faculty  which  did  much  to 
distinguish  him  among  the  men  of  his  generation.  He  had 
been  from  a  child,  in  the  habit  of  putting  his  thoughts  into 
language.  He  wrote  much,  and  to  this  fact  is  doubtless  owing 
his  clearness  in  statement.  He  could  state  with  great  exact- 
ness any  fact  within  the  range  of  his  knowledge.  His  knowl- 
edge was  not  great,  nor  his  vocabulary  rich,  but  he  could  state 
the  details  of  one  by  the  use  of  the  other  with  a  precision  that 
Daniel  Webster  never  surpassed. 

He  was  a  childlike  man.  No  public  man  of  modern  days 
has  been  fortunate  enough  to  carry  into  his  manhood  so  mych 
of  the  directness,  truthfulness  and  simplicity  of  childhood  as 
distinguished  him.  He  was  exactly  what  he  seemed.  He 
was  not  awkward  for  a  purpose,  but  because  he  could  not  help 


it.  He  did  not  dress  shabbily  to  win  votes,  or  excite  comment, 
but  partly  because  he  was  too  poor  to  dress  well,  and  partly 
because  he  had  no  love  for  dress,  or  taste  in  its  arrangement. 
He  was  not  honest  because  he  thought  honesty  was  "the  best 
policy,"  but  because  honesty  was  with  him  "the  natural  way 
of  living."  "With  a  modest  estimate  of  his  own  powers,  and 
a  still  humbler  one  of  his  acquisitions,  he  never  assumed  to  be 
more  or  other  than  he  was.  A  lie  in  any  form  seemed  impos- 
sible to  him.  He  could  neither  speak  one"  nor  act  one,  and  in 
the  light  of  this  fact  all  the  words  and  acts  of  his  life  are  to 
be  judged. 

If  this  brief  statement  of  his  qualities  and  powers  represents 
a  wonderfully  perfect  character — so  strangely  pure  and  noble 
that  it  seems  like  the  sketch  of  an  enthusiast,  it  is  not  the 
writer's  fault.  Its  materials  are  drawn  from  the  lips  of  old 
friends  who  speak  of  him  with  tears — who  loved  him  then  as 
if  he  were  their  brother,  and  who  worship  his  memory  with 
a  fond  idolatry.  It  is  drawn  from  such  humble  materials  as 
composed  his  early  history.  He  loved  all,  was  kind  to  all, 
was  without  a  vice  of  appetite  or  passion,  was  honest,  was 
truthful,  was  simple,  was  unselfish,  was  religious,  was  intelli- 
gent and  self-helpful,  was  all  that  a  good  man  could  desire  in 
a  son  ready  to  enter  life.  We  shall  see  how  such  a  man 
with  such  a  character  entered  life,  and  passed  through  it. 


SEVERAL  of  the  old  acquaintances  of  Mr.  Lincoln  speak  of 
his  having  studied  law,  or  having  begun  the  study  of  law, 
previous  to  1834,  He  had  doubtless  thought  of  it,  and  had 
made  it  a  subject  of  consideration  among  his  friends.  With 
a  vague  project  of  doing  this  at  some  time,  he  had  bought  a 
copy  of  Blackstone  at  an  auction  in  Springfield,  and  had 
looked  it  over.  This  fact  was  enough  to  furnish  a  basis  for 
the  story ;  but  by  his  own  statement  he  did  not  begin  the 
study  of  his  profession  until  after  he  had  been  a  member  of 
the  legislature. 

Two  years  had  passed  away  since  his  unsuccessful  attempt 
to  be  elected  a  representative  of  Sangamon  County.  In  the 
meantime,  he  had  become  known  more  widely.  His  duties  as 
surveyor  had  brought  him  into  contact  with  people  in  other 
localities.  He  had  become  a  political  speaker,  and,  although 
rather  rough  and  slow  and  argumentative,  was  very  popular. 
He  had  made  a  few  speeches  on  the  condition  that  the  friends 
who  persuaded  him  to  try  the  experiment  "  would  not  laugh 
at  him."  They  agreed  to  the  condition,  and  found  no  occa- 
sion to  depart  from  it. 

In  1834,  he  became  again  a  candidate  for  the  legislature, 
and  was  elected  by  the  highest  vote  cast  for  any  candidate. 
Major  John  T.  Stuart,  whose  name  has  been  mentioned  as  an 
officer  in  the  Black  Hawk  war,  and  whose  acquaintance  Lin- 
coln made  at  Beardstown,  was  also  elected.  Major  Stuart 
had  already  conceived  the  highest  opinion  of  the  young  man, 


and  seeino-  much  of  him  during  the  canvass  for  the  election, 

n  o  ' 

privately  advised  him  to  study  law.  Stuart  was  himself  en- 
gaged in  a  large  and  lucrative  legal  practice  at  Springfield. 
Lincoln  said  he  was  poor — that  he  had  no  money  to  buy  books, 
or  to  live  where  books  might  be  borrowed  and  used.  Major 
Stuart  offered  to  lend  him  all  he  needed,  and  he  decided  to 
take  the  kind  lawyer's  advice,  and  accept  his  offer.  At  the 
close  of  the  canvass  which  resulted  in  his  election,  he  walked 
to  Springfield,  borrowed  "  a  load "  of  books  of  Stuart,  and 
took  them  home  with  him  to  New  Salem.  Here  he  began 
the  study  of  law  in  good  earnest,  though  with  no  preceptor. 
He  studied  while  he  had  bread,  and  then  started  out  on  a 
surveying  tour,  to  win  the  money  that  would  buy  more.  One 
who  remembers  his  habits  during  this  period  says  that  he 
went,  day  after  day,  for  weeks,  and  sat  under  an  oak  tree  on 
a  hill  near  New  Salem  and  read,  moving  around  to  keep  in 
the  shade,  as  the  sun  moved.  He  was  so  much  absorbed  that 
some  people  thought  and  said  that  he  was  crazy.  Not  unfre- 
quently  he  met  and  passed  his  best  friends  without  noticing 
them.  The  truth  was  that  he  had  found  the  pursuit  of  his 
life,  and  had  become  very  much  in  earnest. 

During  Lincoln's  campaign,  he  possessed  and  rode  a  horse, 
to  procure  which  he  had  quite  likely  sold  his  compass  and 
chain,  for,  as  soon  as  the  canvass  had  closed,  he  sold  a  horse, 
and  bought  these  instruments  indispensable  to  him  in  the  only 
pursuit  by  which  he  could  make  his  living.  When  the  time 
for  the  assembling  of  the  legislature  approached,  Lincoln 
dropped  his  law  books,  shouldered  his  pack,  and,  on  foot, 
trudged  to  Vandalia,  then  the  capital  of  the  state,  about  a 
hundred  miles,  to  make  his  entrance  into  public  life. 

His  personal  appearance  at  this  time  nfust  have  been  some- 
thing of  an  improvement  upon  former  days.  A  gentleman 
now  living  in  Chicago,  then  a  resident  of  Coles  County,*  met 
him  at  that  time,  or  very  soon  afterwards,  and  says  that  he 
was  dressed  in  plain  mixed  jeans,  his  coat  being  of  the  surtout 
fashion,  which,  at  that  day,  and  in  that  part  of  the  country, 

*U.  F.  Linder,  Esq. 


was  a  very  reputable  dress.  He  speaks  of  him,  also,  as  being 
then  extremely  modest  and  retiring.  Colonel  Jesse  K.  Dubois, 
(one  of  the  Sangamon  County  delegation,)  and  Lincoln  were 
the  two  youngest  men  in  the  House.  During  this  session, 
Mr.  Lincoln  said  very  little,  but  learned  much.  As  he  was 
a  novice  in  legislation,  he  left  the  talking  to  older  and  wiser 
men.  James  Semple,  afterwards  United  States  Senator,  was 
elected  speaker,  and  by  him  Lincoln  was  assigned  to  the  second 
place  on  the  committee  on  public  accounts  and  expenditures. 
The  subject  of  controlling  interest  before  the  legislature  has 
no  special  interest  in  connection  with  Mr.  Lincoln's  life.  The 
state  was  new,  and  very  imperfectly  developed.  A  plan  of 
internal  improvements  was  in  agitation,  special  reference  being 
had  to  a  loan  for  the  benefit  of  the  Illinois  and  Michigan  Canal 


Company,  which  had  been  incorporated  in  1825.  The  loan 
bill  was  not  carried  at  this  session,  though  it  was  at  a  subse- 
quent one.  Lincoln  was  constantly  in  his  place,  and  faithful 
in  the  performance  of  all  the  duties  that  were  devolved  upon 
him.  When  the  session  closed,  he  walked  home  as  he  came, 
and  resumed  his  law  and  his  surveying. 

The  canvass  of  1836,  which  resulted  in  his  re-election  to 
the  legislature,  was  an  unusually  exciting  one,  and  resulted  in 
the  choice  of  a  House  which  has  probably  never  been  equaled 
in  any  state,  in  the  whole  history  of  the  country,  for  its  num- 
ber of  remarkable  men.  As  early  as  June  13th,  of  that 
year,  we  find  a  letter  in  the  Sangamon  Journal,  addressed  by 
Mr.  Lincoln  to  the  editor,  beginning  as  follows:  "In  your 
paper  of  last  Saturday,  I  see  a  communication  over  the  signa- 
ture of  'Many  Voters,'  in  which  the  candidates  who  are 
announced  in  the  Journal,  are  called  upon  to  'show  their 
hands.'  Agreed.  Here  's  mine."  He  then  goes  on  in  his 
characteristic  way  to  "  show  his  hand,"  which  was  that  sub- 
stantially of  the  new  whig  party.  It  was  during  this  canvass 
that  he  made  the  most  striking  speech  he  had  ever  uttered, 
and  one  that  established  his  reputation  as  a  first  class  political 
debater.  It  has  been  spoken  of,  by  some  writers,  as  the  first 
speech  he  ever  made ;  but  this  is  a  mistake.  The  opposing 


candidates  had  met  at  Springfield,  as  is  the  custom  in  the 
western  states,  for  a  public  discussion  of  the  questions 
involved  in  the  canvass;  and  a,  large  number  of  citizens  had 
gathered  in  the  Court  House  to  hear  the  speeches.  Ninian 
W.  Edwards,  then  a  whig,  led  off,  and  was  followed  by  Dr. 
Early,  a  sharp  debater  and  a  representative  man  among  the 
democrats.  Early  bore  down  very  heavily  upon  Edwards — 
so  much  so  that  the  latter  wanted  the  opportunity  for  an  im- 
mediate rejoinder,  but  Lincoln  took  his  turn  upon  the  platform. 
Embarrassed  at  first,  and  speaking  slowly,  he  began  to  lay 
down  and  fix  his  propositions.  His  auditors  followed  him 
with  breathless  attention,  and  saw  him  inclose  his  adversary 
in  a  wall  of  fact,  and  then  weave  over  him  a  network  of  de- 
ductions so  logically  tight  in  all  its  meshes,  that  there  was  no 
escape  for  the  victim.  He  forgot  himself  entirely,  as  he  grew 
warm  at  his  work.  His  audience  applauded,  and  with  rid- 
icule and  wit  he  riddled  the  man  whom  he  had  made  helpless. 
Men  Avho  remember  the  speech  allude  particularly  to  the 
transformation  which  it  wrought  in  Mr.  Lincoln's  appearance. 
The  homely  man  was  majestic,  the  plain,  good-natured  face 
was  full  of  expression,  the  long,  bent  figm*e  Avas  straight  as 
an  arrow,  and  the  kind  and  dreamy  eyes  flashed  with  tlfe  fire 
of  true  inspiration.  His  reputation  was  made,  and  from  that 
day  to  the  day  of  his  death,  he  was  recognized  in  Illinois  as 
one  of  the  most  powerful  orators  in  the  state. 

The  Sangamon  County  delegation,  consisting  of  nine  rep- 
resentatives, was  so  remarkable  for  the  physical  altitude  of  its 
members  that  they  were  known  as  "  The  Long  Nine."  Xot  a 
man  of  the  number  was  less  than  six  feet  high,  and  Lincoln 
was  the  tallest  of  the  nine,  as  he  was  the  leading  man  intel- 
lectually, in  and  out  of  the  House.  Among  those  who  com- 
posed the  House,  were  General  John  A.  McClernand,  after- 
wards a  member  of  Congress,  Jesse  K.  Dubois,  afterwards 
auditor  of  the  state ;  James  Semple,  the  speaker  of  this  and 
the  previous  House,  and  subsequently  United  States  Senator; 
Robert  Smith,  afterwards  member  of  Congress ;  John  Hogan, 
at  present  a  member  of  Congress  from  St.  Louis;  General 


James  Shields,  afterwards  United  States  Senator;  John  De- 
ment, liho  has  since  been  treasurer  of  the  state ;  Stephen  A. 
Douglas,  Avhose  subsequent  public  career  is  familiar  to  all ; 
Newton  Cloud,  president  of  the  convention  which  framed  the 
present  state  constitution  of  Illinois ;  John  J.  Hardin,  who  fell 
at  Buena  Vista;  John  Moore,  afterwards  Lieutenant  Gov- 
ernor of  the  state;  William  A.  Richardson,  subsequently 
United  States  Senator,  and  William  McMurtny,  who  has 
since  been  Lieutenant  Governor  of  the  state.  This  list  does 
not  embrace  all  who  had  then,  or  who  have  since  been  distin- 
guished, but  it  is  large  enough  to  show  that  Lincoln  was, 
during  the  term  of  this  legislature,  thrown  into  association 
and  often  into  antagonism  with  the  brightest  men  of  the  neAv 
state.  It  is  enough,  with  this  fact  in  mind,  to  say  that  he  was' 
by  them  and  by  the  people  regarded  as  one  of  the  leading  men 
in  the  House.  • 

The  principal  measure  with  this  legislature  was  the  adoption 
of  a  general  system  of  public  improvements.  It  was  a  great 
object  with  the  special  friends  of  this  measure  to  secure  the 
co-operation  and  support  of  the  two  senators  and  nine  repre- 
sentatives from  Sangamon  County,  but  they  firmly  refused  to 
suppbrt  the  measure,  unless  the  removal  of  the  capital  from 
Vandalia  to  Springfield  was  made  a  part  of  the  proposed  sys- 
tem. So  the  measure  for  this  removal  passed  through  its 
various  stages  in  company  with  the  internal  improvement  bill, 
and  both  were  enacted  on  the  same  day.  The  measure  which 
thus  changed  the  location  of  the  capital  of  the  state  to  Spring- 
field, brought  great  popularity  to  the  members  from  Sangamon, 
at  least  in  their  own  home,  and  especially  to  Mr.  Lincoln,  who 
was  put  forward  on  all  occasions  to  do  the  important  work  in 
securing'it.  When  it  is  remembered  that  he  had  achieved  his 
position  before  the  people  and  among  the  leading  men  of  the 
state  at  the  early  age  of  twenty-seven,  it  must  be  admitted 
that  the  disadvantages  under  which  he  had  labored  had  not 
hindered  him  from  doinjr  what  the  best  educated  and  most 


favored  would  have  been  proud  to  do. 

It  was  at  this  session  that  Mr.  Lincoln  met  Stephen  A. 


Douglas  for  the  first  time.  Mr.  Douglas  was  then  only 
twenty-three  years  old,  and  was  the  youngest  man  in  the 
House.  Mr.  Lincoln,  in  speaking  of  the  fact  subsequently, 
said  that  Douglas  was  then  "the  least  man  he  ever  saw." 
He  was  not  only  very  short  but  very  slender.  The  two 
young  men,  who  commenced  their  intellectual  and  political 
sparring  during  the  session,  could  hardly  have  foreseen  the 
struggle  in  which  they  were  to  engage  in  after  years — a 
struggle  which  foreshadowed  and  even  laid  the  basis  of  an 
epoch  in  the  national  history,  and  in  the  history  of  freedom 
and  progress  throughout  the  world. 

This  session  of  the  legislature  was  notable  for  its  connec- 
tion with  the  beginning  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  anti-slavery  history. 
It  was  at  Vandalia,  at  this  time,  that  Mr.  Lincoln  and  Mr. 
Douglas  marked  out  the  course  hi  which  they  were  to  walk — 
one  to  disappointment  and  a  grave  of  unsatisfied  hopes  and 
baffled  ambitions,  the  other  to  the  realization  of  his  highest 
dreams  of  achievement  and  renown,  and  a  martyrdom  that 
crowns  his  memory  with  an  undying  glory. 

Illinois  contained  many  immigrants  from  the  border  slave 
states.  Its  territory  was  joined  to  two  of  them;  and  there 
was  a  strong  desire  to  live  in  harmony  with  neighbors  quick 
to  anger  and  resentment,  and  sensitive  touching  their  "pecu- 
liar institution."  The  prevailing  sentiment  in  the  state  was 
in  favor  of  slavery,  or  in  favor  of  slaveholders  in  the  exercise 
of  their  legal  and  constitutional  rights.  There  were,  in  fact, 
a  few  hundred  slaves  living  in  the  state  at  that  time,  as  appears 
by  the  census  tables,  but  by  what  law  is  not  apparent.  The 
democratic  party  was  unanimously  pro-slavery,  and  whatever 
there  may  have  been  of  anti-slavery  sentiment  among  the  whigs 
was  practically  of  little  account.  The  abolitionist  was  hated 
and  despised  by  both  parties  alike,  and  the  whigs  deprecated 
and  disowned  the  title  with  indignation.  There  was  doubtless 
some  anti-slavery  sentiment  among  the  whigs,  but  it  was 
weak  and  timid.  Both  parties  were  strong  in  their  professed 
regard  for  the  Constitution,  and  neither  party  doubted  that  the 
Constitution  protected  the  institution  of  American  Slavery. 


The  agitation  of  the  slavery  question  was  just  beginning  to 
create  uneasiness  among  slaveholders  and  politicians ;  and  dur- 
ing the  winter  the  subject  was  broached  in  the  legislature. 
Resolutions  were  introduced  of  an  extreme  pro~slavery  char- 
acter, and  the  attempt  was  made  to  fix  the  stigma  of  aboli- 
tionism upon  all  who  did  not  indorse  them.  They  were  carried 
through  by  the  large  democratic  majority,  and  the  opposition 
to  them  was  weak  in  numbers  and  weaker  still  in  its  positions. 
We  can  judge  something  of  its  weakness  when  we  learn  that 
only  two  men  among  all  the  whig  members  were  found  willing 
to  subscribe  to  a  protest  against  these  resolutions.  Abraham 
Lincoln  and  Dan  Stone,  "  representatives  from  the  County  of 
Sangamon,"  entered  upon  the  Journal  of  the  House  their 
reasons  for  refusing  to  vote  for  these  offensive  resolutions,  and 
they  were  the  only  men  in  the  state  who  had  the  manliness  to 
do  it.  The  points  of  the  protest  were  these :  that  while  "  the 
Congress  of  the  United  States  has  no  power  under  the  Con- 
stitution to  interfere  with  the  institution  of  slavery  in  the 
different  states,"  and  that  while  "the  promulgation  of  abolition 
doctrines  tends  rather  to  increase  than  abate  its  evils,"  still,  the 
"  institution  of  slavery  is  founded  on  both  injustice  and  bad 
policy,"  and  Congress  "  has  the  power,  under  the  Constitution, 
to  abolish  slavery  in  the  District  of  Columbia."  The  latter 
proposition  was  qualified  by  the  statement  that  this  power 
"  ought  not  to  be  exercised  unless  at  the  request  of  the  people 
of  said  District."  Certainly  this  protest  was  a  moderate  one, 
and  we  may  judge  by  it  something  of  the  character  of  the 
resolutions  which  compelled  its  utterance.  We  may  judge 
something  also  of  the  low  grade  of  anti-slavery  sentiment  in 
ther  whig  party  at  that  time,  when  only  two  men  could  be 
found  to  sign  so  moderate  and  guarded  a  document  as  this. 
Still,  the  refusal  to  sign  may  have  been  a  matter  of  policy, 
for  which  a  good  reason  could  be  given.  It  was  something, 
however,  for  two  men  to  stand  out,  and  protest  that  slavery 
was  a  moral  and  political  evil,  over  which  Congress  had  power 
upon  the  national  territory.  It  was  the  beginning  of  Mr. 
Lincoln's  anti-slavery  record,  and  modest  and  moderate  as  it 


was,  and  much  as  Mr.  Lincoln  afterwards  accomplished  for 
the  abolition  of  slavery,  he  never  became  more  extreme  in  his 
views  than  the  words  of  this  protest  indicate.  He  never 
ceased  to  believe  that  Congress  had  no  power  under  the 
Constitution  to  interfere  with  slavery  in  the  different  states. 
He  never  thought  worse  of  slavery  than  that  it  was  founded 
in  injustice  and  bad  policy.  He  never  changed  his  belief 
touching  the  power  of  Congress  over  the  institution  of  slavery 
in  territory  under  the  exclusive  jurisdiction  of  the  United 
States.  This  little  protest,  entered  into  with  his  brother  rep- 
resentative, Dan  Stone,  was  the  outline  of  the  platform  upon, 
which  he  stood,  and  fought  out  the  great  anti-slavery  battle 
whose  trophies  were  fouv  million  freedmen,  and  a  nation  re- 
deemed to  justice  and  humanity. 

In  the  meantime,  Mr.  Lincoln  had  made  no  money.  He 
had  walked  his  hundred  miles  to  Vandalia  in  1836,  as  he  did 
in  1834,  and  when  the  session  closed  he  walked  home  again. 
A  gentleman  in  Menard  County  remembers  meeting  him  and 
a  detachment  of  "  The  Long  Nine  "  on  their  way  home.  They 
were  all  mounted  except  Lincoln,  who  had  thus  far  kept  up 
with  them  on  foot.  If  he  had  money,  he  was  hoarding  it  for 
more  important  purposes  than  that  of  saving  leg-weariness 
and  leather.  The  weather  was  raw,  and  Lincoln's  clothing 
was  none  of  the  warmest.  Complaining  of  being  cold  to  one 
of  his  companions,  this  irreverent  member  of  "The  Long 
Nine  "  told  his  future  President  that  it  was  no  wonder  he  was 
cold — "there  was  so  much  of  him  on  the  ground."  None  of 
the  party  appreciated  this  homely  joke  at  the  expense  of  his 
feet  (they  were  doubtless  able  to  bear  it)  more  thoroughly 
than  Lincoln  himself.  We  can  imagine  the  cross-fires  of  wit 
and  humor  by  which  the  way  was  enlivened  during  this  cold 
and  tedious  journey.  The  scene  was  certainly  a  rude  one, 
and  seems  more  like  a  dream  than  a  reality,  when  we  remem- 
ber that  it  occurred  less  than  thirty  years  ago,  in  a  state  which 
now  contains  hardly  less  than  a  million  and  a  half  of  people 
and  three  thousand  miles  of  railway. 


THE  time  had  come  with  Mr.  Lincoln  for  translation  to  a 
new  sphere  of  life.  By  the  scantiest  means  he  had  wrested 
from  the  hardest  circumstances  a  development  of  his  charac- 
teristic powers.  He  had  acquired  the  rudiments  of  an  Eng- 
lish education.  He  had  read  several  text  books  of  the  natural 
sciences,  with  special  attention  to  geology,  in  the  facts  and 
laws  of  which  he  had  become  particularly  intelligent.  He 
had  read  law  as  well  as  he  could  without  the  assistance  of 
preceptors.  He  had  attended  a  few  sessions  of  the  courts 
held  near  him,  and  had  become  somewhat  familiar  with  the 
practical  application  of  legal  processes.  He  had,  from  the 
most  discouraging  beginnings,  grown  to  be  a  notable  political 
debater.  He  had  had  experience  in  legislation,  had  received 
public  recognition  as  a  man  of  mark  and  power,  had  been  ac- 
cepted as  one  of  the  leaders  of  an  intelligent  and  morally  in- 
fluential political  party,  and  had  fairly  outgrown  the  humble 
conditions  by  which  his  life  had  hitherto  been  surrounded. 

At  this  time  he  received  from  his  Springfield  friend,  Major 
Stuart,  a  proposition  to  become  his  partner  in  the  practice  of 
the  law.  Mr.  Lincoln's  influence  in  securing  the  transfer  of 
the  capital  from  Vandalia  to  Springfield  had  already  given  him 
a  favorable  introduction  to  the  people  of  the  city ;  and  on  the 
15th  of  April,  1837,  he  took  up  his  abode  there.  He  went 
to  his  new  home  with  great  self-distrust  and  with  many  mis- 
givings concerning  his  future;  but  Springfield  became  his 
permanent  home.  He  had  been  admitted  to  the  bar  during  the 


autumn  of  1836,  and  went  to  his  work  with  the  ambition  to 
be  something,  and  the  determination  to  do  something. 

It  must  have  been  with  something  of  regret  that  he  turned 
his  back  upon  New  Salem,  for  he  left  behind  him  a  town  full 
of  friends,  who  had  watched  his  progress  with  the  friendliest 
interest,  aided  him  when  he  needed  aid,  and  appreciated  him. 
He  left  behind  him  all  the  stepping-stones  by  which  he  had 
mounted  to  the  elevation  he  had  reached — the  old  store-house 
where  he  had  been  a  successful  clerk,  the  old  store-house 
where  he  had  been  an  unsuccessful  principal,  the  scenes  of 
his  wrestling-matches  and  foot-races,  the  lounging-places 
where  he  had  sat  and  told  stories  with  a  post-office  in  his  hat, 
the  rough  audience-rooms  in  which  he  had  "  practiced  polem- 
ics," the  places  where  he  had  had  his  rough  encounters  with 
the  Clary's  Grove  Boys,  and,  last,  the  old  oak  tree  whose 
shadow  he  had  followed  to  keep  his  law  text  out  of  the  sun. 
But  these  things  could  have  touched  him  but  little  when 
placed  by  the  side  of  a  few  cabin  homes,  presided  over  by 
noble  women  who,  with  womanly  instinct,  had  detected  the 
manliness  of  his  nature,  and  had  given  him  a  home  "  for  his 
company,"  as  they  kindly  said,  when  he  needed  one  in  charity. 
He  never  forgot  these  women,  and  occasion  afterward  came  to 
show  the  constancy  of  his  gratitude  and  the  faithfulness  of  his 
friendship.  Arriving  in  Springfield  he  became  a  member  of 
the  family  of  Hon.  William  Butler,  afterward  treasurer  of  the 
state,  and  here  came  under  influences  which,  to  a  man  bred  as 
he  had  been,  were  of  the  most  desirable  character. 

Mr.  Lincoln's  business  connection  with  Mr.  Stuart  must 
have  been  broken  and  brief,  for  he  was  still  a  member  of  the 
legislature,  which  was  summoned  to  a  special  session  on  the 
July  following  his  removal  to  Springfield,  and  Mr.  Stuart, 
himself,  was  soon  afterwards  elected  to,  and  took  his  seat  in, 
Congress.  Still,  the  connection  was  one  of  advantage  to  the 
young  lawyer.  Mr.  Stuart's  willingness  to  receive  him  as  a 
partner  was  an  indorsement  of  his  powers  and  acquisitions 
that  must  have  helped  him  to  make  a  start  in  professional  life. 
This  life  the  people  of  Springfield,  who  gratefully  remembered 


his  services  to  them  in  the  legislature,  would  not  permit  him 
to  pursue  without  interruption.  They  kept  him  upon  the  leg- 
islative ticket  in  1838,  and  he  was  re-elected.  On  the  assem- 
bling of  this  legislature,  Mr.  Lincoln  was  at  once  recognized  to 
be  the  foremost  man  on  the  whig  side  of  the  house,  and  was 
brought  forward,  without  any  dissent,  as  their  candidate  for 
speaker.  The  strength  of  this  legislature  was  pretty  evenly 
divided  between  the  two  parties.  A  great  change,  indeed, 
had  occurred  in  the  state.  The  financial  crash  of  1837  had 
prostrated  industry  and  trade,  and  the  people  had,  either  justly 
or  unjustly,  held  the  dominant  party  responsible  for  the  disas- 
ters from  which  they  had  suffered.  Anti-slavery  agitation  had 
been  voted  down  in  Congress  by  the  friends  of  Mr.  Van  Buren, 
who  came  into  the  presidential  office  during  the  previous  year. 
All  papers  relating  to  slavery  were,  by  solemn  resolution  of 
Congress,  laid  on  the  table  without  being  debated,  read, 
printed  or  referred.  With  financial  ruin  in  the  country,  and 
a  gag-law  in  Congress,  the  democratic  party  had  a  heavier 
load  than  it  could  carry.  This  was  felt  in  Illinois,  where  the 
old  democratic  majority  was  very  nearlj  destroyed.  Colonel 
W.  L.  D.  Ewing  was  the  candidate  of  the  democrats  for 
speaker,  in  opposition  to  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  was  at  last  elected 
by  a  majority  of  one  vote.  Mr.  Lincoln  took  a  prominent 
part  in  all  the  debates  of  the  session.  Some  of  them  were 
political,  and  were  intended  to  have  a  bearing  upon  the  next 
presidential  election,  and  especially  upon  the  politics  of  the 
state;  but  the  most  of  them  related  to  local  and  ephemeral 
affairs  which  will  be  of  no  interest  to  the  general  reader. 

AUusion  has  already  been  made  to  Mr.  Lincoln's  ingenuity — 
his  quickness  at  expedients.  One  of  his  modes  of  getting 
rid  of  troublesome  friends,  as  well  as  troublesome  enemies, 
was  by  telling  a  story.  He  began  these  tactics  early  in  life, 
and  he  grew  to  be  wonderfully  adept  in  them.  If  a  man 
broached  a  subject  which  he  did  not  wish  to  discuss,  he  told  a 
story  which  changed  the  direction  of  the  conversation.  If  he 
was  called  upon  to  answer  a  question,  he  answered  it  by  tell- 
ing a  story.  He  had  a  story  for  everything — something  had 


occurred  at  some  place  where  he  used  to  live,  that  illustrated 
every  possible  phase  of  every  possible  subject  with  which  he 
might  have  connection.  His  faculty  of  finding  or  making  a 
story  to  match  every  event  in  his  history,  and  every  event  to 
which  he  bore  any  relation,  was  really  marvelous.  That  he 
made,  or  adapted,  some  of  his  stories,  there  is  no  question. 
It  is  beyond  belief  that  those  which  entered  his  mind  left  it  no 
richer  than  they  came.  It  is  not  to  be  supposed  that  he  spent 
any  time  in  elaborating  them,  but  by  some  law  of  association 
every  event  that  occurred  suggested  some  story,  and,  almost 
by  an  involuntary  process,  his  mind  harmonized  their  discord- 
ant points,  and  the  story  was  pronounced  "pat,"  because  it 
was  made  so  before  it  was  uttered.  Every  truth,  or  combi- 
nation of  truths,  seemed  immediately  to  clothe  itself  in  a  form 
of  life,  where  he  kept  it  for  reference.  His  mind  was  full  of 
stories ;  and  the  great  facts  of  his  life  and  history  on  entering 
his  mind  seemed  to  take  up  their  abode  in  these  stories,  and 
if  the  garment  did  not  fit  them  it  was  so  modified  that  it  did. 
A  good  instance  of  the  execution  which  he  sometimes  ef- 
fected with  a  story  occurred  in  the  legislature.  There  was  a 
troublesome  member  from  Wabash  County,  who  gloried  par- 
ticularly in  being  a  "  strict  constructionist."  He  found  some- 
thing "  unconstitutional "  in  every  measure  that  was  brought 
forward  for  discussion.  He  was  a  member  of  the  Judiciary 
Committee,  and  was  quite  apt,  after  giving  every  measure  a 
heavy  pounding,  to  advocate  its  reference  to  this  committee. 
No  amount  of  sober  argument  could  floor  the  member  from 
Wabash.  At  last,  he  came  to  be  considered  a  man  to  be  si- 
lenced, and  Mr.  Lincoln  was  resorted  to  for  an  expedient  by 
which  this  object  might  be  accomplished.  He  soon  afterwards 
honored  the  draft  thus  made  upon  him.  A  measure  was 
brought  forward  in  which  Mr.  Lincoln's  constituents  were 
interested,  when  the  member  from  "VV abash  rose  and  dis- 
charged all  his  batteries  upon  its  unconstitutional  points. 
Mr.  Lincoln  then  took  the  floor,  and,  with  the  quizzical  ex- 
pression of  features  which  he  could  assume  at  will,  and  a 
mirthful  twinkle  in  his  gray  eyes,  said:  "Mr.  Speaker,  the 


attack  of  the  member  from  "Wabash  on  the  constitutionality 
of  this  measure  reminds  me  of  an  old  friend  of  mine.  He  's 
a  peculiar  looking  old  fellow,  with  shaggy,  overhanging  eye- 
brows, and  a  pair  of  spectacles  under  them.  (Everybody 
turned  to  the  member  from  Wabash,  and  recognized  a  personal 
description.)  One  morning  just  after  the  old  man  got  up,  he 
imagined,  on  looking  out  of  his  door,  that  he  saw  rather  a 
lively  squirrel  on  a  tree  near  his  house.  So  he  took  down  his 
rifle,  and  fired  at  the  squirrel,  but  the  squirrel  paid  no  atten- 
tion to  the  shot.  He  loaded  and  fired  again,  and  again,  until, 
at  the  thirteenth  shot,  he  set  down  his  gun  impatiently,  and 
said  to  his  boy,  who  was  looking  on,  '  boy,  there  's  something 
wrong  about  this  rifle.'  '  Rifle  's  all  right,  I  know  'tis,'  re- 
sponded the  boy,  'but  where 's  your  squirrel?'  'Don't  you 
see  him,  humped  up  about  half  way  up  the  tree?'  inquired 
the  old  man,  peering  over  his  spectacles,  and  getting  mystified. 
'No,  I  don't,'  responded  the  boy;  and  then  turning  and  look- 
ing into  his  father's  face,  he  exclaimed,  '  I  see  your  squirrel ! 
You  've  been  firing  at  a  louse  on  your  eyebrow! ' ' 

The  story  needed  neither  application  nor  explanation.  The 
House  was  in  convulsions  of  laughter ;  for  Mr.  Lincoln's  skill 
in  telling  a  story  was  not  inferior  to  his  appreciation  of  its 
points  and  his  power  of  adapting  them  to  the  case  in  hand. 
It  killed  off  the  member  from  Wabash,  who  was  very  careful 
afterwards  not  to  provoke  any  allusion  to  his  "eyebrows." 

A  man  who  practiced  law  in  Illinois  in  the  earlier  years  of 
the  state  "  rode  the  circuit,"  a  proceeding  of  which  the  older 
communities  of  the  East  know  nothing.  The  state  of  Illinois, 
for  instance,  is  divided  into  a  number  of  districts,  each  com- 
posed of  a  number  of  counties,  of  which  a  single  judge,  ap- 
pointed or  elected,  as  the  case  may  be,  for  that  purpose,  makes 
the  circuit,  holding  courts  at  each  county  seat.  Railroads 
being  scarce,  the  earlier  circuit  judges  made  their  trips  from 
county  to  county  on  horseback,  or  in  a  gig ;  and,  as  lawyers 
were  not  located  in  each  county,  all  the  prominent  lawyers 
living  within  the  limits  of  the  circuit  made  the  tour  of  the 
circuit  with  the  judge.  After  the  business  of  one  county  was 


finished,  the  judge  and  all  the  lawyers  mounted  their  horses 
or  their  gigs  and  pushed  on  to  the  next  county-seat,  and  so 
repeated  the  process  until  the  whole  circuit  was  compassed ; 
and  this  is  what  is  known  in  the  western  states  as  "  riding 
the  circuit." 

Mr.  Lincoln  rode  the  circuit ;  and  it  was  upon  these  long 
and  tedious  trips  that  he  established  his  reputation  as  one  of 
the  best  lawyers  in  Illinois,  and,  in  some  respects,  the  superior 
of  any  lawyer  in  the  state.  It  is  doubtful  whether  he  was 
ever  regarded  by  his  professional  brethren  as  a  well-read  law- 
yer. Toward  the  latter  part  of  his  life,  he  had,  by  his  own 
powers  of  generalization  and  deduction,  become  versed  in  the 
principles  of  law,  and  was  coming  to  be  recognized  by  the 
best  lawyers  as  their  peer ;  but  his  education  was  too  defective 
at  the  first  to  make  him  anything  better  than  what  is  called 
"  a  case  lawyer."  He  studied  his  cases  with  great  thorough- 
ness, and  was  so  uniformly  successful  in  them  that  the  people 
regarded  him  as  having  no  equal.  He  had  been  engaged  in 
practice  but  a  short  time  when  he  was  found  habitually  on 
one  side  or  the  other  of  every  important  case  in  the  circuit. 
The  writer  remembers  an  instance  in  which  many  years  ago, 
before  he  had  risen  to  political  eminence,  he  was  pointed  out 
to  a  stranger,  by  a  citizen  of  Springfield,  as  4<  Abe  Lincoln, 
the  first  lawyer  of  Illinois."  He  certainly  enjoyed  great 
reputation  among  the  people. 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  a  very  weak  lawyer  when  engaged  by  the 
weak  side.  This  side  he  never  took,  if,  by  careful  investiga- 
tion of  the  case,  he  could  avoid  it.  If  a  man  went  to  him 
witfy  the  proposal  to  institute  a  suit,  he  examined  carefully  the 
man's  grounds  for  the  action.  If  these  were  good,  he  entered 
upon  the  case,  and  prosecuted  it  faithfully  to  the  end.  If  the 
grounds  were  not  good  he  would  have  nothing  to  do  with  the 
case.  He  invariably  advised  the  applicant  to  dismiss  the 
matter,  telling  him  frankly  that  he  had  no  case,  and  ought 
not  to  prosecute.  Sometimes  he  was  deceived.  Sometimes 
he  discovered,  in  the  middle  of  a  trial,  by  the  revelation  of  a 
witness,  that  his  client  had  lied  to  him.  After  the  moment 


that  he  was  convinced  that  justice  was  opposed  to  him  and 
his  client,  he  lost  all  his  enthusiasm  and  all  his  courage.  In- 
deed, he  lost  all  interest  in  the  case.  His  efforts  for  his  client 
after  that  moment  were  simply  mechanical,  for  he  would  not 
lie  for  any  man,  or  strive  to  make  the  worse  appear  the  better 
reason  for  any  man.  He  had  a  genuine  interest  in  the  estab- 
lishment of  justice  between  man  and  man.  As  a  citizen,  as  a 
lover  of  good  order,  as  a  man  who  believed  in  truth  and  jus- 
tice, he  was,  by  every  instinct  of  his  nature,  opposed  to  the 
success  of  villainy  and  the  triumph  of  wrong,  and  he  would 
not  sell  himself  to  purposes  of  injustice  and  immorality.  He 
repeatedly  refused  to  take  fees  on  the  wrong  side  of  a  case. 
AVhen  his  clients  had  practiced  gross  deception  upon  him,  he 
forsook  their  cases  in  mid-passage ;  and  he  always  refused  to 
accept  fees  of  those  whom  he  advised  not  to  prosecute.  On 
one  occasion,  while  engaged  upon  an  important  case,  he  dis- 
covered that  he  was  on  the  wrong  side.  His  associate  in  the 
case  was  immediately  informed  that  he  (Lincoln)  would  not 
make  the  plea.  The  associate  made  it,  and  the  case,  much  fo 
the  surprise  of  Lincoln,  was  decided  for  his  client.  Perfectly 
convinced  that  his  client  was  wrong,  he  would  not  receive  one 
cent  of  the  fee  of  nine  hundred  dollars  which  he  paid.  It  is 
not  wonderful  that  one  who  knew  him  well  spoke  of  him  as 
"  perversely  honest." 

This  "riding  the  circuit"  was,  in  those  early  days,  a  pecu- 
liar business,  and  tended  to  develop  peculiar  traits  of  charac- 
ter. The  long  passages  from  court-house  to  court-house,  the 
stopping  at  cabins  by  the  way  to  eat,  or  sleep,  or  feed  the 
horse,  the  evenings  at  the  country  taverns,  the  expedient^  re- 
sorted to  to  secure  amusement,  the  petty,  mean  and  shameful 
cases  that  abounded,  must  have  tended  to  make  it  a  strange 
business,  and  not  altogether  a  pleasant  one.  These  long  pas- 
sages while  riding  the  circuit  were  seasons  of  reflection  with 
Mr.  Lincoln.  An  amusing  incident  occurred  in  connection 
with  one  of  these  journeys,  which  gives  a  pleasant  glimpse 
into  the  good  lawyer's  heart.  He  was  riding  by  a  deep 
slough,  in  which,  to  his  exceeding  pain,  he  saw  a  pig  strug- 


",  and  with  such  faint  efforts  that  it  was  evident  that  he 


could  not  extricate  himself  from  the  mud.  '  Mr.  Lincoln  looked 
at  the  pig  and  the  mud  which  enveloped  him,  and  then  looked 
at  some  new  clothes  with  which  he  had  but  a  short  time  before 
enveloped  himself.  Deciding  against  the  claims  of  the  pig, 
he  rode  on,  but  he  could  not  get  rid  of  the  vision  of  the  poor 
brute,  and,  at  last,  after  riding  two  miles,  he  turned  back,  de- 
termined to  rescue  the  animal  at  the  expense  of  his  new  clothes. 
Arrived  at  the  spot,  he  tied  his  horse,  and  coolly  went  to  work 
to  build  of  old  rails  a  passage  to  the  bottom  of  the  hole. 
Descending  on  these  rails,  he  seized  the  pig  and  dragged  him 
out,  but  not  without  serious  damage  to  the  clothes  he  wore. 
Washing  his  hands  in  the  nearest  brook,  and  wiping  them  on 
the  grass,  he  mounted  his  gig  and  rode  along.  He  then  fell 
to  examining  the  motive  that  sent  him  back  to  the  release  of 
the  pig.  At  the  first  thought,  it  seemed  to  be  pure  benevo- 
lence, but,  at  length,  he  came  to  the  conclusion  that  it  was 
selfishness,  for  he  certainly  went  to  the  pig's  relief  in  order 
(as  he  said  to  the  friend  to  whom  he  related  the  incident,)  to 
"take  a  pain  out  of  his  own  mind."  This  is  certainly  a  new 
view  of  the  nature  of  sympathy,  and  one  which  it  will  be  well 
for  the  casuist  to  examine. 

While  Mr.  Lincoln  was  not  regarded  by  his  professional 
associates  as  profoundly  versed  in  the  principles  of  law,  he 
was  looked  upon  by  them  as  a  very  remarkable  advocate. 
No  mail  in  Illinois  had  such  power  before  a  jury  as  he.  This 
was  a  fact  universally  admitted.  The  elements  of  his  power 
as  an  advocate  were  perfect  lucidity  of  statement,  great  fair- 
ness in  the  treatment  of  both  sides  of  a  case,  and  the  skill  to 
conduct  a  common  mind  along  the  chain  of  his  logic  to  his  own 
conclusion.  In  presenting  a  case  to  a  jury,  he  invariably  pre- 
sented both  sides  of  it.  After  he  had  done  this,  there  was 
really  little  more  to  be  said,  for  he  could  state  the  points  of 
his  opponent  better  generally  than  his  opponent  could  state 
them  for  himself.  The  man  who  followed  him  usually  found 
himself  handling  that  which  Mr.  Lincoln  had  already  reduced 
to  chaff.  There  was  really  no  trick  about  this.  In  the  first 


place  he  would  not  take  a  case  in  which  he  did  not  believe  he 
was  on  the  side  of  justice.  Believing  that  the  right  was  Avith 
him,  he  felt  that  he  could  afford  to  give  to  the  opposing  coun- 
sel everything  that  he  could  claim,  and  still  have  material 
enough  left  for  carrying  his  verdicts.  His  fairness  was  not 
only  apparent  but  real,  and  the  juries  he  addressed  knew  it  to 
be  so.  He  would  stand  before  a  jury  and  yield  point  after 
point  that  nearly  every  other  lawyer  would  dispute  under  the 
same  circumstances,  so  that,  sometimes,  his  clients  trembled 
with  apprehension ;  and  then,  after  he  had  given  his  opponent 
all  he  had  claimed,  and  more  than  he  had  dared  to  claim,  he 
would  state  his  own  side  of  the  case  with  such  power  and 
clearness  that  that  which  had  seemed  strong  against  him  was 
reduced  to  weakness,  that  which  had  seemed  to  be  sound  was 
proved  to  be  specious,  and  that  which  had  the  appearance  of 
being  conclusive  against  him  was  plainly  seen  to  be  corrobo- 
rative of  his  own  positions  on  the  question  to  be  decided. 
Every  juror  was  made  to  feel  that  Mr.  Lincoln  was  an  abso- 
lute aid  to  him  in  arriving  at  an  intelligent  and  impartial  ver- 
dict. The  cunning  lawyers  thought  that  Mr.  Lincoln  was 
very  cunning  in  all  this — thought  that  his  fairness  was  only 
apparent  and  assumed  for  a  purpose — but  it  has  already  been 
stated  that  cunning  was  not  an  element  of  his  nature.  He 
had  no  interest  in  the  establishment  of  anything  but  justice, 
and  injustice,  even  if  it  favored  him,  could  give  him  no  satis- 
faction. The  testimony  of  the  lawyers  who  were  obliged  to 
try  cases  with  him  is  that  he  was  "a  hard  man  to  meet." 

Coming  from  the  people,  and  being  perfectly  familiar  with 
the  modes  of  thought  and  mental  capacity  of  the  men  who 
generally  composed  his  juries,  he  knew  all  their  difficulties, 
knew  just  what  language  to  address  to  them,  what  illustrations 
to  use,  and  how  to  bring  his  arguments  to  bear  upon  their 
minds.  This  point  is  well  illustrated  by  the  details  of  a  case 
in  the  Coles  Circuit  Court. 

The  controversy  was  about  a  colt,  in  which  thirty-four  wit- 
nesses swore  that  they  had  known  the  colt  from  its  falling,  and 
that  it  was  the  property  of  the  plaintiff,  while  thirty  swore 


that  they  had  known  the  colt  from  its  falling,  and  that  it  was 
the  property  of  the  defendant.  It  may  be  stated,  at  starting, 
that  these  witnesses  were  all  honest,  and  that  the  mistake 
grew  out  of  the  exact  resemblances  which  two  colts  bore  to 
each  other.  One  circumstance  was  proven  by  all  the  wit- 
nesses, or  nearly  all  of  them,  viz :  that  the  two  claimants  of 
the  colt  agreed  to  meet  on  a  certain  day  with  the  two  mares 
which  were  respectively  claimed  to  be  the  dams  of  the  colt, 
and  permit  the  colt  to  decide  which  of  the  two  he  belonged 
to.  The  meeting  occurred  according  to  agreement,  and,  as  it 
was  a  singular  case  and  excited  a  good  deal  of  popular  in- 
terest, there  were  probably  a  hundred  men  assembled  on  their 
horses  and  mares,  from  far  and  near.  Now  the  colt  really 
belonged  to  the  defendant  in  the  case.  It  had  strayed  away 
and  fallen  into  company  with  the  plaintiff's  horses.  The  plain- 
tiff's colt  had,  at  the  same  time,  strayed  away,  and  had  not 
returned,  and  was  not  to  be  found.  The  moment  the  two 
mares  were  brought  upon  the  ground,  the  defendant's  mare 
and  the  colt  gave  signs  of  recognition.  The  colt  went  to  its 
dam,  and  would  not  leave  her.  They  fondled  each  other ; 
and,  although  the  plaintiff  brought  his  mare  between  them, 
and  tried  in  various  ways  to  divert  the  colt's  attention,  the 
colt  would  not  be  separated  from  its  dam.  It  then  followed 
her  home,  a  distance  of  eight  or  ten  miles,  and,  when  within 
a  mile  or  two  of  the  stables,  took  a  short  cut  to  them  in  ad- 
vance of  its  dam.  The  plaintiff  had  sued  to  recover  the  colt 
thus  gone  back  to  its  owner. 

In  the  presentation  of  this  case  to  the  jury,  there  were 
thirty-four  witnesses  on  the  side  of  the  plaintiff,  while  the  de- 
fendant had,  on  his  side,  only  thirty  witnesses;  but  he  had  on 
his  side  the  colt  itself  and  its  dam — thirty-four  men  against 
thirty  men  and  two  brutes.  Here  was  a  case  that  was  to  be 
decided  by  the  preponderance  of  evidence.  All  the  witnesses 
were  equally  positive,  and  equally  credible.  Mr.  Lincoln 
was  on  the  side  of  the  defendant,  and  contended  that  the  voice 
of  nature  in  the  mare  and  colt  ought  to  outweigh  the  testimony 
of  a  hundred  men.  The  jury  were  all  farmers,  and  all  illiter- 


ate  men,  and  he  took  great  pains  to  make  them  understand 
what  was  meant  by  the  "preponderance  of  evidence."  He 
said  that  in  a  civil  suit,  absolute  certainty,  or  such  certainty 
as  would  be  required  to  convict  a  man  of  crime,  was  not  es- 
sential. They  must  decide  the  case  according  to  the  impres- 
sion which  the  evidence  had  produced  upon  their  minds,  and, 
if  they  felt  puzzled  at  all,  he  would  give  them  a  test  by  which 
they  could  bring  themselves  to  a  just  conclusion.  "Now," 
said  he,  "if  you  were  going  to  bet  on  this  case,  on  which  side 
would  you  be  willing  to  risk  a  picayune?  That  side  on  which 
you  would  be  willing  to  bet  a  picayune,  is  the  side  on  which 
rests  the  preponderance  of  evidence  in  your  minds.  It  is 
possible  that  you  may  not  be  right,  but  that  is  not  the  ques- 
tion. The  question  is  as  to  where  the  preponderance  of  evi- 
dence lies,  and  you  can  judge  exactly  where  it  lies  in  your 
minds,  by  deciding  as  to  which  side  you  would  be  willing  to 
bet  on. 

The  jury  understood  this.  There  was  no  mystification 
about  it.  They  had  got  hold  of  a  test  by  which  they  could 
render  an  intelligent  verdict.  Mr.  Lincoln  saw  into  their 
minds,  and  knew  exactly  what  they  needed  ;  and  the  moment 
they  received  it,  he  knew  that  his  case  was  safe,  as  a  quick 
verdict  for  the  defendant  proved  it  to  be.  In  nothing  con- 
nected with  this  case  was  the  ingenuity  of  Mr.  Lincoln 
more  evident,  perhaps*  than  in  the  insignificance  of  the  sum 
which  he  placed  in  risk  by  the  hypothetical  wager.  It  was 
not  a  hundred  dollars,  or  a  thousand  dollars,  or  even  a  dollar, 
but  the  smallest  silver  coin,  to  show  to  them  that  the  verdict 
should  go  with  the  preponderance  of  evidence,  even  if  the 
preponderance  should  be  only  a  hair's  weight. 

If  it  was  the  habit  of  Mr.  Lincoln  to  present  both  sides  of 
his  cases  to  the  jury,  it  was,  of  course,  his  habit  to  study  both 
sides  with  equal  thoroughness.  He  was  called  slow  in  arriv- 
ing at  the  points  of  a  case.  It  is  probably  true  that  his  mind 
was  not  one  of  the  quickest  in  the  processes  of  investigation. 
He  certainly  exercised  great  care  in  coming  to  his  conclusions. 
It  was  then,  in  the  days  of  his  legal  practice,  his  habit  to 


argue  against  himself,  and  it  always  remained  the  habit  of  his 
life.  He  took  special  interest  in  the  investigation  of  every 
point  that  could  be  made  against  him  and  his  positions.  This 
habit  made  his  processes  of  investigation  slower  than  those 
of  other  men,  while  the  limited  range  of  his  legal  education 
rendered  it  necessary  that  he  should  bestow  more  study  upon 
his  cases  than  better  educated  lawyers  found  it  necessary  to 

One  of  the  most  even-tempered  men  that  ever  lived,  Mr. 
Lincoln  was  the  subject  of  great  varieties  of  mood,  and  ex- 
tremes of  feeling.  His  constitution  embraced  remarkable  con- 
tradictions. Oppressed  with  a  deep  melancholy  at  times, 
weighed  down  by  the  great  problems  of  his  own  life  and  of 
humanity  at  large,  assuming  and  carrying  patiently  the  most 
important  public  burdens,  he  was  as  simple  as  a  boy,  took 
delight  in  the  most  trivial  things,  and  with  the  subtlest  and 
quickest  sense  of  the  ludicrous,  laughed  incontinently  over 
incidents  and  stories  that  would  hardly  move  any  other  man 
in  his  position  to  a  smile.  At  one  time,  while  riding  the  cir- 
cuit with  a  friend,  he  entered  into  an  exposition  of  his  feelings 
touching  what  seemed  to  him  the  growing  corruption  of  the 
world,  in  politics  and  morals.  "  Oh  how  hard  it  is,"  he  ex- 
claimed, "  to  die,  and  not  to  be  able  to  leave  the  •world  any 
better  for  one's  little  life  in  it ! "  Here  was  a  key  to  one  cause 
of  his  depression,  and  an  index  to  his  aspirations.  *  After  this 
conversation  and  the  ride  were  over,  he  probably  arrived  at  a 
country  tavern,  and  there  spent  the  evening  in  telling  stories 
to  his  brother  lawyers,  and  in  laughing  over  the  most  trifling 

It  will  perhaps  be  as  well,  at  this  point  of  his  history  as 
elsewhere,  to  allude  to  his  habit  of  telling  stories  that  it 
would  not  be  proper  to  repeat  in  the  presence  of  women.  It 
is  useless  for  Mr.  Lincoln's  biographers  to  ignore  this  habit, 
for  it  was  notorious.  The  whole  West,  if  not  the  whole 
country,  is  full  of  these  stories ;  and  there  is  no  doubt  at  all 
that  he  indulged  in  them  with  the  same  freedom  that  he  did 
in  those  of  a  less  exceptionable  character.  Good  people  are 


at  a  loss  to  account  for  this  apparent  love  of  impurity,  in  a 
man  of  such  exalted  aims,  such  deep  truthfulness,  such  high 
aspirations.  The  matter  is  easily  explained. 

Those  who  have  heard  these  stories  will  readily  admit  that 
they  are  the  wittiest  and  most  amusing  of  their  kind,  and, 
when  they  have  admitted  that,  they  have  in  their  minds  the 
only  reason  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  indulgence  in  them.  It  was 
always  the  elements  of  wit  and  humor  that  captivated  him. 
He  was  not  an  impure  man  in  his  life,  or  in  his  imaginations. 
For  impurity's  sake,  he  never  uttered  an  impure  word,  or 
made  an  impure  allusion,  but,  whenever  he  found  anything 
humorous,  ludicrous  or  witty,  he  could  not  resist  the  inclina- 
tion to  use  it,  whatever  the  incidents  might  be  with  which  it 
was  associated.  Anything  that  was  morally  beautiful  touched 
him  to  tears.  He  was  equally  sensitive  to  all  that  was  heroic, 
beautiful,  grand,  sweet,  ludicrous  and  grotesque  in  human  life. 
He  wept  as  readily  over  a  tale  of  heroic  self-devotion,  as  he 
laughed  over  a  humorous  story. 

It  is  also  to  be  said  that  the  habit  of  telling  these  excep- 
tionable stories  was  the  habit  of  his  profession,  in  his  region 
of  country,  at  the  time  he  was  engaged  in  practice  there. 
He  indulged  in  them  no  more  than  his  brother  lawyers,  and 
he  excelled  them  in  his  stories  no  more  than  he  did  in  every- 
thing else.  It  is  to  be  said,  further,  that  there  is  something 
in  the  practice  of  the  law  that  makes  these  stories  more  toler- 
able in  the  legal  profession,  even  when  the  members  of  it  are 
Christian  men — men  of  pure  morals  and  pure  instincts — than 
in  any  other  profession  in  the  world.  The  legal  profession 
brings  men  into  constant  association  with  impurity,  with  the 
details  of  cases  of  shame,  with  all  the  smut  and  dirt  that  can 
be  raked  from  the  haunts  of  vice,  with  all  the  particulars  of 
prurient  dalliance  and  bestial  licentiousness.  With  this  ha- 
bitual— this  professional — familiarity  with  impurity,  it  is  not 
strange  that  the  sense  of  propriety  in  language  becomes  dead- 
ened ;  and  none  know  better  than  lawyers  that  there  is  in  their 
profession,  in  the  older  parts  of  the  country  as  well  as  in  the 
newer,  great  laxity  of  speech,  touching  subjects  which  they 


would  blush  to  introduce — which  would  cost  them  their  self- 
respect  and  the  respect  of  the  community  to  introduce — among 
women.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  not  a  sinner  in  this  thing  above 
other  men,  equally  pure  and  good  in  his  profession.  It  is  not 
a  habit  to  be  justified  in  any  man.  It  is  not  a  habit  to  be 
tojerated  in  any  man  who  indulges  in  it  to  gratify  simply  his 
Icfte  of  that  which  is  beastly.  In  Mr.  Lincoln's  case,  it  is  a 
habit  to  be  explained  and  regretted.  His  whole  life  had  been 
spent  with  people  without  refinement.  His  legal  study  and 
practice  had  rendered  this  class  of  subjects  familiar.  It  was 
the  habit  of  his  professional  brethren  to  tell  these  objectionable 
stories,  and,  even  if  his  pure  sensibilities  sometimes  rebelled — 
for  he  possessed  and  always  maintained  the  profoundest 
respect  for  women — the  wit  and  humor  they  contained  over- 
tempted  him. 

One  of  the  most  beautiful  traits  of  Mr.  Lincoln  was  his 
considerate  regard  for  the  poor  and  obscure  relatives  he  had 
left,  plodding  along  in  their  humble  ways  of  life.  Wherever 
upon  his  circuit  he  found  them,  he  always  went  to  their  dwel- 
lings, ate  with  them,  and,  when  convenient,  made  their  houses 
his  home.  He  never  assumed  in  their  presence  the  slightest 
superiority  to  them,  in  the  facts  and  conditions  of  his  life. 
He  gave  them  money  when  they  needed  and  he  possessed  it. 
Countless  times  he  was  known  to  leave  his  companions  at  the 
village  hotel,  after  a  hard  day's  work  in  the  court  room,  and 
spend  the  evening  with  these  old  friends  and  companions  of 
his  humbler  days.  On  one  occasion,  when  urged  not  to  go,  he 
replied,  "Why,  aunt's  heart  would  be  broken  if  I  should 
leave  town  without  calling  upon  her;"  yet  he  was  obliged  to 
walk  several  miles  to  make  the  call. 

A  little  fact  in  this  connection  will  illustrate  his  ever-present 
desire  to  deal  honestly  and  justly  with  men.  He  had  always 
a  partner  in  his  professional  life,  and,  when  he  went  out  upon 
the  circuit,  this  partner  was  usually  at  home.  While  out,  he 
frequently  took  up  and  disposed  of  cases  that  were  never  en- 
tered at  the  office.  In  these  cases,  after  receiving  his  fees, 
he  divided  the  money  in  his  pocket  book,  labeling  each  sum 


(wrapped  in  a  piece  of  paper,)  that  belonged  to  his  partner, 
stating  his  name,  and  the  case  on  which  it  was  received.  He 
could  not  be  content  to  keep  an  account.  He  divided  the 
money,  so  that  if  he,  by  any  casualty,  should  fail  of  an  oppor- 
tunity to  pay  it  over,  there  could  be  no  dispute  as  to  the  exact 
amount  that  was  his  partner's  due.  This  may  seem  trivial, 
nay,  boyish,  but  it  was  like  Mr.  Lincoln.  But  we  must  set 
aside  the  professional  man  for  a  while,  to  notice  other  affairs 
which  mingled  in  his  life. 


THE  "  Sangamon  Chief,"  as  Mr.  Lincoln  had  been  popularly 
named,  was  placed  upon  the  legislative  ticket  again  in  1810, 
and  re-elected.  At  a  special  session  of  the  previous  legisla- 
ture, held  during  1839,  Vandalia,  as  the  capital  of  the  state 
had  been  forsaken,  and  Springfield  received  the  legislature 
and  the  archives  and  offices  of  the  state  government.  Mr. 
Lincoln  was  in  the  legislature,  and,  at  the  same  time,  at  home. 
The  fact  reconciled  him  to  holding  an  office  which  he  felt  to 
be  a  disadvantage  to  his  business,  for  he  could  attend  upon  his 
duties  at  the  State  House,  and,  at  the  same  time,  have  a  care 
that  his  professional  interests  were  not  entirely  sacrificed.  In 
the  only  session  held  by  the  legislature  of  1840,  no  important 
business  of  general  interest  was  transacted.  The  democratic 
preponderance  in  the  state  had  been  partially  restored  and 
was  still  maintained,  and  although  Mr.  Lincoln  was  again  the 
first  man  on  the  whig  side  and  the  candidate  for  speaker,  for 
which  office  he  was  supported  by  more  than  the  strength  of 
his  party,  he  was  defeated  as  he  had  been  in  1838.  This  ses- 
sion finished  up  Mr.  Lincoln's  connection  with  the  legislature 
of  the  state,  for,  although  urged  by  the  people  to  represent 
them  again,  considerations  of  a  private  nature  made  him  per- 
emptory in  his  refusal  to  be  again  a  candidate.  It  is  recorded, 
however,  that  he  was  re-elected  in  1854,  and  that  he  resigned 

7  '  f> 

before  taking  his  seat.     The  election  was  made  against  his 

will,  for  a  larger  political  life  was  already  dawning  upon  him. 

It  was  about  this  time  that  a  strange  incident  in  his  private 


life  occurred — one,  certainly,  which  was  quite  in  discord  with 
his  principles  and  feelings.  A  sharp,  sarcastic  poem  appeared 
in  the  Sangamon  Journal,  edited  at  that  time  by  Simeon 
Francis.  The  poem  had  an  evident  allusion  to  James  Shields, 
a  young  lawyer  of  Springfield,  and  since  a  United  States 
Senator  from  Illinois.  General  Shields  was  at  that  time  hot- 
blooded  and  impulsive,  and,  instead  of  laughing  off  the  matter, 
regarded  it  seriously,  and  demanded  of  Mr.  Francis  the  au- 
thor's name.  Mr.  Francis  knew  at  once  what  the  demand 
meant,  and  sought  to  delay  his  answer.  He  asked  the  young 
man  for  a  day  to  consider  whether  he  should  reveal  the  name 
of  his  contributor  or  not.  The  request  Avas  granted,  when  Mr. 
Francis  went  to  work  to  ascertain  how  he  could  lift  the  respon- 
sibility of  the  publication  from  his  own  shoulders,  as  the  writer 
of  the  poem  was  a  lady.  On  inquiry  among  the  lady's 
friends,  he  ascertained  that  Mr.  Lincoln  was,  at  least,  one  of 
her  admirers,  and  that  he  possibly  bore  a  tenderer  relation  to 
her.  Accordingly  he  went  to  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  told  him  that 
he  was  in  trouble,  and  explained  to  him  the  cause  of  his  diffi- 
culty. It  seemed  certain  that  somebody  would  be  obliged  to 
fight  a  duel  with  Mr.  Shields,  or  be  branded  by  him  as  a  cow- 
ard ;  and  Mr.  Francis,  though  entirely  responsible  for  the  pub- 
lication of  a  lady's  poem  shrank,  in  a  very  unworthy  way, 
from  the  alternative. 

As  soon  as  Mr.  Lincoln  comprehended  the  case,  and  saw 
what  Mr.  Francis  expected  of  him,  he  told  the  editor  that  if 
Mr.  Shields  should  call  again,  and  demand  the  author's  name, 
to  inform  him  that  he,  Lincoln,  held  himself  responsible  for 
the  poem.  The  result  was  just  what  was  expected,  at  least 
by  Mr.  Francis.  Mr.  Lincoln  at  once  received  a  challenge 
and  accepted  it.  There  must  have  existed  in  that  part  of  the 
country,  at  that  time,  a  state  of  feeling  on  this  subject  which 
cannot  now  be  comprehended  among  the  people  of  the  North. 
With  a  natural  aversion  to  all  violence  and  bloodshed,  with  a 
moral  sense  that  shrank  from  the  barbaric  arbitrament  of  the 
duel,  with  his  whole  soul  at  war  with  the  policy  which  seeks 
to  heal  a  wound  of  honor  by  the  commission  of  a  crime,  he 


walked  with  his  eyes  wide  open  into  this  duel.  It  is  possible 
that  he  imagined  Mr.  Shields  did  not  mean  a  duel  by  his 
question,  or  that  he  would  not  fight  a  duel  with  him ;  but  he 
certainly  knew  that  he  made  himself  liable  to  a  challenge,  and 
intended  to  accept  it  if  it  came.  Gallantry  was,  of  course, 
the  moving  power.  The  lady's  name  was  to  be  protected,  and 
the  editor  who  had  been  imprudent  enough  to  publish  her 
poem  relieved  from  all  responsibility  on  her  account. 

Mr.  Lincoln  selected  broad-swords  as  the  weapons  for  the 
encounter,  and  immediately  took  instruction  in  the  exercise  of 
that  arm,  of  Dr.  E.  H.  Merriman,  a  physician  of  Springfield. 
The  place  of  meeting  was  Bloody  Island,  a  disputed  or  neu- 
tral territory  on  the  Mississippi  River,  lying  between  Illinois 
and  Missouri.  The  meeting  took  place  according  to  appoint- 
ment, but  friends  interfered,  determined  that  on  such  foolish 
grounds  no  duel  should  be  fought,  and  no  blood  shed.  The 
parties  were  brought  together,  and  a  reconciliation  easily  ef- 
fected. Mr.  Lincoln  felt  afterwards  that  he  could  have  done, 
under  the  circumstances,  no  less  than  he  did.  He  stated  to  a 
friend,  however,  that  he  selected  broad-swords  because  his 
arms  were  long.  He  had  not  the  slightest  intention  of  injur- 
ing Mr,  Shields,  and  thought  that  the  length  of  his  arms  would 
aid  him  in  defending  his  own  person. 

This  incident  does  not  seem  to  have  been  remembered 
against  Mr.  Lincoln,  by  any  class  of  the  community  in  which 
he  lived.  It  was  certainly  a  boyish  affair,  and  was  probably 
regarded  and  forgotten  as  such.  Even  the  excitements  of  a 
great  political  campaign,  like  that  which  resulted  in  his  elec- 
tion to  the  presidency,  did  not  call  it  from  its  slumbers,  and 
the  American  people  were  spared  a  representation  of  Mr. 
Lincoln's  atrocities  as  a  duelist. 

Mr.  Lincoln's  law  partnership  with  Mr.  Stuart  was  dis- 
solved in  1840,  when  he  immediately  formed  a  business  asso- 
ciation with  Judge  S.  T.  Logan  of  Springfield,  one  of  the 
ablest  and  most  learned  lawyers  in  the  state.  He  entered 
upon  this  new  partnership  with  a  determination  to  devote  his 
time  more  exclusively  to  business  than  he  had  done,  but  the 


people  would  not  permit  him  to  do  so.  He  was  called  upon 
from  all  quarters  to  engage  in  the  exciting  political  canvass  of 
1840,  and  made  many  speeches. 

In  1842,  having  arrived  at  his  thirty-third  year,  Mr.  Lincoln 
married  Miss  Mary  Todd,  a  daughter  of  Hon.  Robert  S.  Todd 
of  Lexington,  Kentucky.  The  marriage  took  place  in  Spring- 
field, where  the  lady  had  for  several  years  resided,  on  the 
fourth  of  November  of  the  year  mentioned.  It  is  probable 
that  he  married  as  early  as  the  circumstances  of  his  life  per- 
mitted, for  he  had  always  loved  the  society  of  women,  and 
possessed  a  nature  that  took  profound  delight  in  intimate  fe- 
male companionship.  A  letter  written  on  the  eighteenth  of 
May  following  his  marriage,  to  J.  F.  Speed,  Esq.,  of  Louis- 
ville, Kentucky,  an  early  and  a  life-long  personal  friend,  gives 
a  pleasant  glimpse  of  his  domestic  arrangements  at  this  time. 
"  We  are  not  keeping  house,"  Mr.  Lincoln  says  in  this  letter, 
"  but  boarding  at  the  Globe  Tavern,  which  is  very  well  kept 
now  by  a  widow  lady  of  the  name  of  Beck.  Our  rooms  are 
the  same  Dr.  Wallace  occupied  there,  and  boarding  only 
costs  four  dollars  a  week.  *  *  *  I  most  heartily  wish  you  and 
your  Fanny  will  not  fail  to  come.  Just  let  us  know  the  time, 
a  week  in  advance,  and  we  will  have  a  room  prepared  for  you, 
and  we  '11  all  be  merry  together  for  a  while."  He  seems  to 
have  been  in  excellent  spirits,  and  to  have  been  very  hearty 
in  the  enjoyment  of  his  new  relation. 

The  private  letters  of  Mr.  Lincoln  were  charmingly  natural 
and  sincere,  and  there  can  be  no  harm  in  giving  a  passage 
from  one  written  during  these  early  years,  as  an  illustration. 
Mr.  Lincoln  has  been  charged  with  having  no  strong  personal 
attachments ;  but  no  one  can  read  his  private  letters,  written 
at  any  time  during  his  life,  without  perceiving  that  his  per- 
sonal friendships  were  the  sweetest  sources  of  his  happiness. 
To  a  particular  friend,  he  wrote  February  25th,  1842 :  "  Yours 

of  the  sixteenth,  announcing  that  Miss and  you  '  are  no 

longer  twain  but  one  flesh,'  reached  me  this  morning.  I  have 
no  way  of  telling  you  how  much  happiness  I  wish  you  both, 
though*  I  believe  you  both  can  conceive  it.  I  feel  somewhat 


jealous  of  both  of  you  now,  for  you  will  be  so  exclusively 
concerned  for  one  another  that  I  shall  be  forgotten  entirely. 

My  acquaintance  with  Miss (I  call  her  thus  lest  you 

should  think  I  am  speaking  of  your  mother,)  Avas  too  short 
for  me  to  reasonably  hope  to  long  be  remembered  by  her ;  and 
still  I  am  sure  I  shall  not  forget  her  soon.  Try  if  you  can- 
not remind  her  of  that  debt  she  owes  me,  and  be  sure  you  do 
not  interfere  to  prevent  her  paying  it. 

"  I  regret  to  learn  that  you  have  resolved  not  to  return  to 
Illinois.  I  shall  be  very  lonesome  without  you.  How  mis- 
erably things  seem  to  be  arranged  in  this  world !  If  we  have 
no  friends  we  have  no  pleasure ;  and  if  we  have  them,  we 
are  sure  to  lose  them,'and  be  doubly  pained  by  the  loss.  I 
did  hope  she  and  you  Avould  make  your  home  here,  yet  I  own 
I  have  no  right  to  insist.  You  owe  obligations  to  her  ten 
thousand  times  more  sacred  than  any  you  can  owe  to  others, 
and  in  that  light  let  them  be  respected  and  observed.  It  is 
natural  that  she  should  desire  to  remain  with  her  relations  and 
friends.  As  to  friends,  she  could  not  need  them  anywhere  ; — 
she  would  have  them  in  abundance  here.  Give  my  kind 

regards  to  Mr. and  his  family,  particularly  to  Miss  E. 

Also  to  your  mother,  brothers  and  sisters.  Ask  little  E. 

D if  she  will  ride  to  town  with  me  if  I  come  there  again. 

And,  finally,  give a  double  reciprocation  of  all  the  love 

she  sent  me.  Write  me  often,  and  believe  me,  yours  forever, 

The  kind  feeling,  the  delicate  playfulness,  the  considerate 
remembrance  of  all  who  were  associated  with  the  recipient  of 
the  missive,  and  the  hearty,  outspoken  affection  which  this 
letter  breathes,  reveal  a  sound  and  true  heart  in  the  writer. 
It  is  true,  indeed,  that  Mr.  Lincoln  had  a  friendly  feeling  to- 
ward everybody,  and  it  is  just  as  true  that  his  personal  friend- 
ships were  as  devoted  and  unselfish  as  those  of  a  man  of  more 
exclusive  feelings  and  more  abounding  prejudices. 

Mr.  Lincoln  seems  to  have  been  thinking  about  a  seat  in 
Congress  at  this  time.  On  the  24th  of  March,  1843,  he 
wrote  to  his  friend  Speed :  "  We  had  a  meeting  of  the  whigs 


of  the  county  here  on  last  Monday,  to  appoint  delegates  to  a 
district  convention,  and  Baker*  beat  me,  and  got  the  delega- 
tion instructed  to  go  for  him.  The  meeting,  in  spite  of  my  at- 
tempt to  decline  it,  appointed  me  one  of  the  delegates,  so  that, 
in  getting  Baker  the  nomination,  I  shall  be  '  fixed '  a  good  deal 
like  a  fellow  who  is  made  groomsman  to  the  man  who  has 
'cut  him  out,'  and  is  marrying  his  own  dear  gal." 

In  a  subsequent  letter,  he  writes :  "  In  regard  to  the  Con- 
gress matter  here,  you  were  right  in  supposing  I  would  sup- 
port the  nominee.  Neither  Baker  nor  myself,  however,  will 
be  the  man,  but  Hardin."  f 

It  was  Mr.  Lincoln's  rule  and  habit  to  "  support  the  nomi- 
nee." He  was  always  a  loyal  party  man.  In  the  ordinary 
use  of  the  word,  Mr.  Lincoln  was  not,  and  never  became,  a 
reformer.  He  believed  that  a  man,  in  order  to  effect  anything, 
should  work  through  organizations  of  men.  In  a  eulogy 
upon  Henry  Clay  which  he  delivered  in  1852,  occurs  the 
following  passage :  "  A  free  people,  in  times  of  peace  and 
quiet,  when  pressed  by  no  common  danger,  naturally  divide 
into  parties.  At  such  times,  the  man  who  is  not  of  either 
party,  is  not,  cannot  be,  of  any  consequence.  Mr.  Clay, 
therefore,  was  of  a  party."  Whether  his  position  was  sound 
or  otherwise,  he  believed  it  was,  and  always  acted  upon  it. 
With  as  true  a  love  of  freedom  and  progress  as  any  man — 
with  a  regard  for  popular  rights  never  surpassed  by  profes- 
sional reformers — he  was  careful  to  go  no  faster,  and  no  farther, 
than  he  could  take  his  party  with  him,  and  no  faster  and  no 
farther  than  was  consistent  with  that  party's  permanent  suc- 
cess. He  would  endanger  nothing  by  precipitancy.  His  pol- 
icy was  to  advance  surely,  even  if  he  was  obliged  to  proceed 
slowly.  The.  policy  which  distinguished  his  presidential  ca- 
reer was  the  policy  of  his  life.  It  was  adopted  early,  and  he 
always  followed  it. 

With  Mr.  Lincoln's  modest  estimate  of  his  own  services, 

*  Colonel  Edward  D.  Baker,  (afterwards  United  States  Senator  from 
Oregon,)  who  fell  at  Ball's  Bluff. 
f  Colonel  Jolm  J.  Hardin,  who  fell  at  Buena  Yista. 


and  with  his  friendly  feelings  toward  all,  it  is  not  to  be  won- 
dered at  that  he  never  made  much  money.  It  was  not  possible 
for  him  to  regard  his  clients  simply  in  the  light  of  business. 
An  unfortunate  man  was  a  subject  of  his  sympathy,  no  matter 
what  his  business  relations  to  him  might  be.  A  Mr.  Cogdal, 
who  related  the  incident  to  the  writer,  met  with  a  financial 
wreck  in  1843.  He  employed  Mr.  Lincoln  as  his  lawyer,  and 
at  the  close  of  the  business,  gave  him  a  note  to  cover  the  reg- 
ular lawyer's  fees.  He  was  soon  afterwards  blown  up  by  an 
accidental  discharge  of  powder,  and  lost  his  hand.  Meeting 
Mr.  Lincoln  some  time  after  the  accident,  on  the  steps  of  the 
State  House,  the  kind  lawyer  asked  him  how  he  was  getting 
along.  "Badly  enough,"  replied  Mr.  Cogdal,  "I  am  both 
broken  up  in  business,  and  crippled."  Then  he  added,  "  I  have 
been  thinking  about  that  note  of  yours."  Mr.  Lincoln,  who 
had  probably  known  all  about  Mr.  Cogdal's  troubles,  and  had 
prepared  himself  for  the  meeting,  took  out  his  pocket-book,  and 
saying  with  a  laugh,  "  well,  you  needn't  think  any  more  about 
it,"  handed  him  the  note.  Mr.  Cogdal  protesting,  Mr.  Lincoln 
said  "if  you  had  the  money,  I  would  not  take  it,"  and  hurried 
away.  At  this  same  date,  he  was  frankly  writing  about  his 
poverty  to  his  friends,  as  a  reason  for  not  making  them  a  visit, 
and  probably  found  it  no  easy  task  to  take  care  of  his  family, 
even  when  board  at  the  Globe  Tavern  was  "  only  four  dollars 
a  week." 

In  the  active  discharge  of  the  duties  of  his  profession,  in 
the  enjoyments  of  his  new  domestic  life,  and  in  the  intrigues 
of  local  politics,  as  betrayed  in  his  letter  to  Mr.  Speed,  the 
months  passed  away,  and  brought  Mr.  Lincoln  to  the  great 
political  contest  of  1844.  Henry  Clay,  his  political  idol  was 
the  candidate  of  the  whig  party  for  the  presidency,  and  he 
went  into  the  canvass  with  his  whole  heart.  As  a  candidate 
for  presidential  elector,  he  canvassed  the  state  of  Illinois,  and 
afterwards  went  over  into  Indiana,  and  made  a  series  of 
speeches  there.  The  result  of  this  great  campaign  to  Mr. 
Clay  and  to  the  whig  party  was  a  sad  disappointment.  Proba- 
bly no  defeat  of  a  great  party  ever  brought  to  its  members  so 


much  personal  sorrow  as  this.  Mr.  Clay  had  the  power  of 
exciting  an  enthusiastic  affection  for  his  person  that  few  politi- 
cal men  have  enjoyed.  The  women  of  the  country  were  as 
much  interested  in  his  election  as  their  brothers  and  husbands 
were,  and  wept  at  his  defeat  as  if  he  had  been  their  best  and 
most  intimate  friend.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  among  the  heartiest 
of  these  mourners ;  but,  while  the  event  rendered  his  great 
political  exemplar  a  hopeless  man  politically,  the  canvass  itself 
had  raised  Mr.  Lincoln  to  the  proudest  hight  he  had  occupied. 
He  had  greatly  strengthened  the  whig  organization  in  the 
state,  and  had  established  his  reputation  as  one  of  the  most 
powerful  political  debaters  in  the  country.  His  exposition  of 
the  protective  system  of  duties,  which  was  the  principal 
issue  of  the  canvass,  was  elaborate  and  powerful.  He  had 
thoroughly  mastered  his  subject,  and  his  arguments  are  still 
remembered  for  the  copiousness  of  their  facts,  and  the  close- 
ness and  soundness  of  their  logic. 

Mr.  Clay's  defeat  was  the  more  a  matter  of  sorrow  with 
Mr.  Lincoln  because  it  was,  in  a  measure,  unexpected.  No 
personal  defeat  could  have  been  more  dispiriting  to  him  than 
this  failure  before  the  people  of  his  political  idol.  He  was 
not  only  disappointed  but  disgusted.  With  his  strong  con- 
victions of  the  soundness  of  the  principles  of  the  whig  party, 
and  his  belief  in  the  almost  immeasurable  superiority  of  Mr. 
Clay  over  Mr.  Polk,  he  doubtless  had  the  same  misgivings 
that  have  come  to  others,  touching  the  capacity  of  the  people 
for  self-government,  and  realized  the  same  distrust  of  the 
value  of  honors  which  could  be  so  unworthily  bestowed.  It 
was  to  him  a  popular  decision  in  the  cause  of  political  iniquity 
and  bad  government.  It  was  not  strange,  therefore,  in  the  first 
gush  of  his  disappointment,  that  he  made  a  new  resolution  to 
let  politics  alone,  and  attend  more  devotedly  to  the  duties  of 
his  profession.  But  Mr.  Lincoln's  ambition,  and  Mr.  Lin- 
coln's friends,  more  powerful  than  his  ambition,  were  not 
likely  to  permit  this  resolution  to  have  a  permanent  influence 
upon  his  career. 
'  Subsequently,  Mr.  Lincoln  paid  a  personal  visit  to  Mr. 


Clay,  and  it  is  possible  that  he  needed  the  influence  of  this 
visit  to  restore  a  healthy  tone  to  his  feelings,  and  to  teach  him 
that  the  person  whom  his  imagination  had  transformed  into  a 
demigod  was  only  a  man,  possessing  the  full  measure  of  weak- 
nesses common  to  men.  In  1846,  Mr.  Lincoln  learned  that 
Mr.  Clay  had  agreed  to  deliver  a  speech  at  Lexington,  Ken- 
tucky, in  favor  of  gradual  emancipation.  He  had  never  seen 
the  great  Kentuckian,  and  this  event  seemed  to  give  him  an 
excuse  for  breaking  away  from  his  business,  and  satisfying  his 
curiosity  to  look  his  demigod  in  the  face,  and  hear  the  music 
of  his  eloquence.  He  accordingly  went  to  Lexington,  and 
arrived  there  in  time  to  attend  the  meeting. 

On  returning  to  his  home  from  this  visit,  he  did  not  attempt 
to  disguise  his  disappointment.  The  speech  itself  was  written 
and  read.  It  lacked  entirely  the  spontaneity  and  fire  which 
Mr.  Lincoln  had  anticipated,  and  was  not  eloquent  at  all.  At 
the  close  of  the  meeting  Mr.  Lincoln  secured  an  introduction 
to  the  great  orator,  and  as  Mr.  Clay  knew  what  a  friend  to  him 
Mr.  Lincoln  had  been,  he  invited  his  admirer  and  partisan  to 
Ashland.  NQ  invitation  could  have  delighted  Mr.  Lincoln 
more,  but  the  result  of  his  private  interview  with  Mr.  Clay  was 
no  more  satisfactory  than  that  which  followed  the  speech. 
Those  who  have  known  both  men,  will  not  wonder  at  this,  for 
two  men  could  hardly  be  more  unlike  in  their  motives  and  man- 
ners than  the  two  thus  brought  together.  One  was  a  proud 
man ;  the  other  was  a  humble  man.  One  was  princely  in  his 
bearing;  the  other  was  lowly.  One  was  distant  and  digni- 
fied ;  the  other  was  as  simple  and  teachable  as  a  child.  One 
received  the  deference  of  men  as  his  due ;  the  other  received 
it  with  an  uncomfortable  sense  of  his  unworthiness. 

A  friend  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  who  had  a  long  conversation  with 
him  afte*  his  return  from  Ashland,  found  that  his  old  enthusi- 
asm was  gone.  Mr.  Lincoln  said  that  though  Mr.  Clay  was 
most  polished  in  his  manners,  and  very  hospitable,  he  be- 
trayed a  consciousness  of  superiority  that  none  could  mistake. 
He  felt  that  Mr.  Clay  did  not  regard  him,  or  any  other  person 
in  his  presence,  as,  in  any  sense,  on  an  equality  with  him.  In 



short,  he  thought  that  Mr.  Clay  was  overbearing  and  domi- 
neering, and  that,  while  he  was  apparently  kind,  it  was  in  that 
magnificent  and  patronizing  way  which  made  a  sensitive  man 

It  is  quite  possible  that  Mr.  Lincoln  needed  to  experience 
this  disappointment,  and  to  be  taught  this  lesson.  It  was, 
perhaps,  the  only  instance  in  his  life  in  which  he  had  given 
his  whole  heart  to  a  man  without  knowing  him,  or  been  carried 
away  by  his  imagination  into  an  unbounded  zeal  on  behalf  of 
a  personal  stranger.  It  made  him  more  cautious  in  the  be- 
stowal of  his  love.  He  was,  certainly,  from  that  time  forward, 
more  careful  to  look  on  all  sides  of  a  man,  and  on  all  sides  of 
a  subject,  before  yielding  to  either  his  devotion,  than  ever  be- 
fore. If  he  became  slow  in  moving,  it  was  because  he  saw 
more  than  his  own  side  of  every  case  and  question,  and  recog- 
nized, in  advance,  such  obstacles  as  would  be  certain  to  impede 
his  progress. 

Much  has  been  said  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  kindness,  and  many 
suppose  that  he  was  not  brave — that  his  patient  and  universal 
love  of  men  was  inconsistent  with  those  sterner  qualities  which 
are  necessary  to  make,  not  only  a  true  hero,  but  a  true  man. 
An  incident  occurred  during  the  Clay  campaign  which  shows 
how  ill-founded  this  estimate  of  Mr.  Lincoln  is.  On  the  occa- 
sion of  a  great  mass  convention  at  Springfield,  U.  F.  Linder, 
Esq.,  now  a  resident  of  Chicago,  and  a  man  of  rare  eloquence, 
made  a  speech  which  seemed  to  rouse  the  enthusiasm  of  the 
assemblage  to  the  highest  pitch.  The  speech  was  very  offen- 
sive to  some  of  the  democrats  who  were  present — who,  indeed, 
proposed  to  make  a  personal  matter  of  it.  Mr.  Linder  being 
called  out  again,  in  the  course  of  the  meeting,  was  considered 
in  personal  danger,  if  he  should  attempt  to  respond.  At  this 
juncture,  Mr.  Lincoln  and  Colonel  Baker  took  their  places  by 
his  side,  and,  when  he  finished,  conducted  him  to  his  hotel. 
The  ruffians  Knew  both  men,  and  prudently  refrained  from  in- 
terfering with  them.  On  a  previous  occasion,  Mr.  Lincoln 
had  protected  the  person  of  Colonel  Baker  himself.  Baker 
•was  speaking  in  a  court-house,  which  had  once  been  a  store- 


house,  and,  on  making  some  remarks  that  were  offensive  to 
certain  political  rowdies  in  the  crowd,  they  cried  :  "  take  him 
off  the  stand."  Immediate  confusion  ensued,  and  there  was 
an  attempt  to  carry  the  demand  into  execution.  Directly 
over  the  speaker's  head  was  an  old  scuttle,  at  which  it  ap- 
peared Mr.  Lincoln  had  been  listening  to  the  speech.  In  an 
instant,  Mr.  Lincoln's  feet  came  through  the  scuttle,  followed 
by  his  tall  and  sinewy  frame,  and  he  was  standing  by  Colonel 
Baker's  side.  He  raised  his  hand,  and  the  assembly  subsided 
immediately  into  silence.  "  Gentlemen,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln, 
"  let  us  not  disgrace  the  age  and  country  in  which  we  live. 
This  is  a  land  where  freedom  of  speech  is  guarantied.  Mr. 
Baker  has  a  right  to  speak,  and  ought  to  be  permitted  to  do 
so.  I  am  here  to  protect  him,  and  no  man  shall  take  him 
from  this  stand  if  I  can  prevent  it."  The  suddenness  of  his 
appearance,  his  perfect  calmness  and  fairness,  and  the  knowl- 
edge that  he  would  do  what  he  had  promised  to  do,  quieted 
all  disturbance,  and  the  speaker  concluded  his  remarks  with- 
out difficulty. 

Mr.  Lincoln  has  already  been  spoken  of  as  a  strong  party 
man,  and  his  thorough  devotion  to  his  party,  on  some  occa- 
sions, though  very  rarely,  led  him  into  hasty  expressions  and 
hasty  actions,  quite  out  of  harmony  with  his  usual  self-poise 
and  good  nature.  A  scene  occurred  in  the  room  occupied  by 
Mr.  Lincoln  and  his  particular  friend,  Judge  Davis,  at  Paris, 
on  one  occasion,  which  illustrates  this.  There  was  present, 
as  a  visitor,  a  young  lawyer  of  the  name  of  Constable,  a  gen- 
tleman of  fine  abilities,  and  at  present  a  judge  of  the  circuit 
court.  Mr.  Constable  was  a  whig,  but  had  probably  been 
disappointed  in  some  of  his  political  aspirations,  and  did  not 
feel  that  the  party  had  treated  him  fairly.  He  was  in  the 
habit  of  speaking  disparagingly  of  the  policy  of  the  party  in 
the  treatment  of  its  own  friends,  and  particularly  of  its  young 
men,  especially  when  he  found  whig  leaders  to  listen  to  him. 
On  this  occasion  he  charged  the  party  with  being  "old  fogy- 
ish,"  and  indifferent  to  rising  men,  while  the  democratic  party 
was  lauded  for  the  contrast  which  it  presented  in  this  partic- 


ular.  Mr.  Lincoln  felt  the  charge  as  keenly  as  if  it  had  been 
a  personal  one.  Indeed,  his  own  experience  disproved  the 
whole  statement.  Constable  went  on,  and  charged  the  whig 
party  with  ingratitude  and  neglect  in  his  own  case.  Mr.  Lin- 
coln stood  with  his  coat  off,  shaving  himself  before  his  glass. 
He  had  heard  the  charges  without  saying  a  word,  but  when 
Mr.  Constable  alluded  to  himself,  as  having  been  badly  treated, 
he  turned  fiercely  upon  him,  and  said,  "  Mr.  Constable,  I  un- 
derstand you  perfectly,  and  have  noticed  for  some  time  back 
that  you  have  been  slowly  and  cautiously  picking  your  way 
over  to  the  democratic  party."  Both  men  were  angry,  and  it 
required  the  efforts  of  all  the  others  present  to  keep  them  from 
fighting.  Mr.  Lincoln  seemed  for  a  time,  as  one  of  the  spec- 
tators of  the  scene  remarks,  to  be  "terribly  willing."  Such 
instances  as  this  have  been  very  rare  in  Mr.  Lincoln's  life,  and 
the  fact  that  he  was  susceptible  to  the  influence  of  such  motives 
renders  his  notorious  equanimity  of  temper  all  the  more  cred- 
itable to  him.  The  matter  was  adjusted  between  him  and  Mr. 
Constable,  and,  not  long  afterwards,  the  latter  justified  Mr. 
Lincoln's  interpretation  of  his  motives,  and  was  numbered 
among  the  democrats. 




THE  political  biographers  of  Mr.  Lincoln  have  stated  that  in 
1846  he  was  "induced  to  accept''  the  nomination  for  Congress 
from  the  Sangamon  district.  It  has  already  been  seen  that  he 
had  aspirations  for  this  place ;  and  it  is  quite  as  well  to  adopt 
Mr.  Lincoln's  own  frankness  and  directness,  and  say  that  the 
representatives  of  his  wishes  secured  the  nomination  for  him. 
As  a  party  man,  he  had  well  earned  any  honor  in  the  power 
of  his  party  to  bestow.  As  a  man  and  a  politician,  his  char- 
acter was  so  sound  and  so  truly  noble  that  his  nomination  and 
election  to  Congress  would  be  quite  as  honorable  to  his  dis- 
trict as  to  him. 

Having  received  the  nomination,  Mr.  Lincoln  did  after  the 
manner  of  Western  nominees  and  "stumped"  his  district. 
He  had  abundant  material  for  discussion.  During  the  winter 
of  1845,  Texas  was  admitted  to  the  Union,  and  the  war  with 
Mexico  was  commenced.  The  tariff  of  1842,  constructed  in 
accordance  with  the  policy  of  the  whig  party,  had  been  re- 
pealed. The  country  had  a  foreign  war  on  its  hands — a  war 
which  the  whigs  believed  to  have  been  unnecessarily  begun, 
and  unjustifiably  carried  on.  It  had  received  into  the  Union  a 
new  member  in  the  interest  of  slavery.  It  had  been  greatly 
disturbed  in  its  industrial  interests  by  the  subversion  of  the 
protective  policy.  The  issues  between  the  two  parties  then  in 
the  political  field  were  positive  and  well  defined.  Mr.  Lin- 
coln's position  on  all  the  principal  points  at  issue  was  that  of 


the  whig  party,  and  the  party  had  no  reason  to  be  ashamed  of 
its  western  champion. 

The  eminent  popularity  of  Mr.  Lincoln  in  his  own  district 
was  shown  by  the  majority  he  received  over  that  which  it  had 
given  to  Mr.  Clay.  Although  he  had  made  Mr.  Clay's  cause 
his  own,  and  had  advocated  his  election  with  an  enthusiasm 
which  no  personal  object  could  have  excited  in  him,  he  re- 
ceived in  his  district  a  majority  of  one  thousand  five  hundred 
and  eleven  votes  to  the  nine  hundred  and  fourteen  majority 
which  the  district  had  given  Mr.  Clay  in  1844.  He  undoubt- 
edly was  supported  by  more  than  the  strength  of  his  party, 
for  his  majority  was  unprecedented  in  the  district,  and  has 
since  had  no  parallel.  It  was  not  reached,  on  a  much  larger 
vote,  by  General  Taylor  in  1848.  There  is  no  question  that 
this  remarkable  majority  was  the  result  of  the  popular  faith 
in  Mr.  Lincoln's  earnestness,  conscientiousness  and  integrity. 

He  took  his  seat  in  the  thirtieth  Congress,  December  Cth, 
1847,  and  was  from  the  first  entirely  at  home.  He  was  no 
novice  in  politics  or  legislation.  To  the  latter  he  had  served 
a  thorough  apprenticeship  in  the  Illinois  legislature.  To  the 
study  and  discussion  of  the  former,  he  had  devoted  perhaps 
the  severest  efforts  of  his  life.  He  understood  every  phase  of 
the  great  questions  which  agitated  Congress  and  divided  the 
people.  Unlike  many  politicians  who  engage  in  the  harangues 
of  a  political  canvass,  he  had  made  himself  the  master  of  the 
subjects  he  discussed.  He  had  been  a  debater,  and  not  a  de- 
claimer.  He  had  entertained  a  deeper  interest  in  questions  of 
public  concern  than  he  had  felt  in  his  own  election ;  and  he 
was  at  once  recognized  as  the  peer  of  his  associates  in  the 
House.  He  derived  considerable  prominence  from  the  fact 
that  he  was  the  only  whig  member  from  Illinois,  a  fact  almost 
entirely  due  to  his  own  presence  and  influence  in  the  district 
which  elected  him. 

It  is  noticeable  here  that  Stephen  A.  Douglas  took  his  seat 
in  the  Senate  of  the  United  States  during  this  same  session. 
They  met  first  as  representatives  in  the  Illinois  legislature. 
Mr.  Douglas  was  the  younger,  the  more  adroit,  the  swifter  in 


a  political  race.  He  had  had  with  him  the  large  democratic 
majority  of  the  state,  and  had  moulded  it  to  his  purposes. 
He  had  taken  a  step — perhaps  many  steps — in  advance  of  Mr. 
Lincoln;  but  it  seemed  destined  that  the  tallest  man  in  the 
House  and  the  shortest  man  in  the  Senate  should  keep  in  sight 
of  each  other,  until  the  time  should  come  when  they  should 
stand  out  before  their  own  state  and  the  country  as  the  cham- 
pions respectively  of  the  antagonistic  principles  and  policies 
which  divided  the  American  people. 

It  is  interesting,  at  the  close  of  a  great  rebellion,  undertaken 
on  behalf  of  slavery,  to  look  back  to  this  Congress,  and  see 
how,  in  the  interests  and  associations  of  the  old  whig  party, 
those  men  worked  in  harmony  who  have  since  been,  or  who, 
if  they  had  lived  would  have  been,  so  widely  separated  in 
feeling  and  action.  John  Quincy  Adams  voted  on  most  ques- 
tions with  Robert  Toombs ;  George  Ashrnun,  afterwards  pres- 
ident of  the  convention  that  nominated  Mr.  Lincoln  for  the 
presidency,  with  Alexander  H.  Stephens,  afterwards  vice- 
president  of  the  Southern  Confederacy ;  Jacob  Collamer  with 
Thomas  Butler  King,  and  Samuel  F.  Vinton  with  Henry  W. 
Hilliard.  History  must  record  that  the  Mexican  war  was 
undertaken  in  the  interest  of  human  slavery;  yet,  touching 
the  questions  arising  out  of  this  war,  and  questions  directly 
associated  with  or  bearing  upon  it,  these  men  of  the  old  whig 
party  acted  together.  The  slaveholder  then  yielded  to  party 
what  he  has  since  denied  to  patriotism,  and  patriotism  aban- 
doned a  party  which  held  out  to  it  a  constant  temptation  to 
complicity  with  slavery. 

Mr.  Polk,  at  that  time  the  President  of  the  United  States, 
was  evidently  anxious  to  justify  the  war  which  he  had  com- 
menced against  Mexico,  and  to  vindicate  his  own  action  before 
the  American  people,  if  not  before  his  own  judgment  and  con- 
science. His  messages  to  Congress  were  burdened  with  this 
effort ;  and  Mr.  Lincoln  had  hardly  become  wonted  to  his  seat 
when  he  made  an  unsuccessful  effort  to  bring  the  President  to  a 
statement  of  facts,  upon  which  Congress  and  the  country  might 
either  verify  or  falsify  his  broad  and  general  asseverations.  On 


the  twenty-second  of  December,  he  introduced  a  series  of  res- 
olutions* which,  had  they  been  adopted,  would  have  given  the 
President  an  opportunity  to  furnish  the  grounds  of  his  allega- 
tions, and  set  himself  right  before  the  nation.  These  resolu- 
tions are  remarkable  for  their  definite  statement  of  the  points 
actually  at  issue  between  the  administration  and  the  whig 
party ;  but  they  found  no  advocates  among  Mr.  Folk's  friends. 
Laid  over  under  the  rule,  they  were  not  called  up  again  by  Mr. 
Lincoln  himself,  but  they  formed  the  thesis  tt'  a  speech  de- 
livered by  him  on  the  following  twelfth  of  January,  m  which 
he  fully  expressed  his  views  on  the  whole  subject. 

The  opposition  in  this  Congress  were  placed  in  a  very  diffi- 
cult and  perplexing  position.  They  hated  the  war ;  they  be- 

*  WHEREAS,  The  President  of  the  United  States,  in  his  message  of 
May  11, 1846,  has  declared  that  "the  Mexican  Government  not  only  re- 
fused to  receive  him  [the  envoy  of  the  United  States,]  or  listen  to  his 
propositions,  but,  after  a  long  continued  series  of  menaces',  has  at  last 
invaded  our  territory,  and  shed  the  blood  of  our  fellow  citizens  on  our 
own  soil:" 

And  again,  in  his  message  of  December  8, 1846,  that  "We  had  ample 
cause  of  war  against  Mexico  long  before  the  breaking  out  of  hostilities; 
but  even  then  we  forbore  to  take  redress  into  our  own  hands  until 
Mexico  herself  became  the  aggressor,  by  invading  our  soil  in  hostile 
array,  and  shedding  the  blood  of  our  citizens:'' 

And  yet  again,  in  his  message  of  December  7,  1847,  that  ''The  Mex- 
ican Government  refused  even  to  hear  the  terms  of  adjustment  which 
he  [our  minister  of  peace]  Avas  authorized  to  propose,  and  finally,  under 
wholly  unjustifiable  pretexts,  involved  the  two  countries  in  war,  by  in- 
vading the  territory  of  the  State  of  Texas,  striking  the  first  blow,  and 
shedding  the  blood  of  our  citizens  on  our  own  soil:"  and, 

WIIEHKAS,  This  House  is  desirous  to  obtain  a  full  knowledge  of  all 
the  facts  which  go  to  establish  whether  the  particular  spot  on  which  the 
blood  of  our  citizens  was  £0  shed  was  or  \vas  not  at  that  time  "our  own 
soil:"  therefore, 

JiCftoh-c'l  ly  tlie  House  of  Representatives,  That  the  President  of  the 
United  States  be  respectfully  requested  to  inform  this  house — 

1st.  Whether  the  spot  on  which  the  blood  of  our  citizens  was  shed, 
as  in  his  messages  declared,  was  or  was  not  within  the  territory  of 
Spain,  at  least  after  the  treaty  of  1819,  until  the  Mexican  revolution. 

2d.  Whether  that  spot  is  or  is  not  within  the  territory  which  was 
wrested  from  Spain  by  the  revolutionary  Government  of  Mexico. 


lieved  it  to  have  been  unnecessarily  begun  by  the  act  of  the 
United  States,  and  not  by  the  act  of  Mexico  ;  they  were 
accused  of  being  treacherous  to  the  cause  and  honor  of  the 
country  because  they  opposed  the  war  in  which  the  country 
was  engaged ;  they  felt  obliged  to  vote  supplies  to  the  army 
because  it  would  have  been  inhuman  to  do  otherwise,  yet 
this  act  was  seized  upon  by  the  President  to  show  that  his 
position  touching  the  war  was  sustained  by  them ;  they  felt 
compelled  to  condemn  the  commander-in-chief  of  the  armies, 
sitting  in  the  White  House,  and  to  vote  thanks  to  the  generals 
who  had  successfully  executed  his  orders  in  the  field.  Men 
picked  their  way  through  these  difficulties  according  to  the 
wisdom  given  to  them.  The  opposition  usually  voted  together, 
though  there  was  more  or  less  of  division  on  minor  points  and 
matters  of  policy. 

3d.  Whether  that  spot  is  or  is  not  within  a  settlement  of  people, 
which  settlement  has  existed  ever  since  long  before  the  Texas  revolu- 
tion, and  until  its  inhabitants  fled  before  the  approach  of  the  United 
States  army. 

4th.  Whether  that  settlement  is  or  is  not  isolated  from  any  and  all 
other  settlements  by  the  Gulf  and  the  Rio  Grande  on  the  south  and  west, 
and  by  wide  uninhabited  regions  on  the  north  and  east. 

5th.  Whether  the  people  of  that  settlement,  or  a  majority  of  them, 
or  any  of  them,  have  ever  submitted  themselves  to  the  government  or 
laws  of  Texas  or  of  the  United  States,  by  consent  or  by  compulsion, 
either  by  accepting  office,  or  voting  at  elections,  or  paying  tax,  or  serv- 
ing on  juries,  or  having  process  served  upon  them,  or  in  any  other  way. 

6th.  Whether  the  people  of  that  settlement  did  or  did  not  flee  from 
the  approach  of  the  United  States  army,  leaving  unprotected  their 
homes  and  their  growing  crops,  lie/ore  the  blood  was  shed,  as  in  the  mes- 
sages stated;  and  whether  the  first  blood,  so  shed,  was  or  was  not  shed 
within  the  inclosure  of  one  of  the  people  who  had  thus  fled  from  it. 

7th.  Whether  our  citizens,  whose  blood  was  shed,  as  in  his  messages 
declared,  were  or  were  not,  at  that  time,  armed  officers  and  soldiers, 
sent  into  that  settlement  by  the  military  order  of  the  President,  through 
the  Secretary  of  War. 

8th.  Whether  the  military  force  of  the  United  States  was  or  was 
not  so  sent  into  that  settlement  after  General  Taylor  had  more  than 
once  intimated  to  the  War  Department  that,  in  his  opinion,  no  such 
movement  was  necessary  to  the  defense  or  protection  of  Texas. 


Mr.  Hudson  of  Massachusetts  introduced  a  resolution  which 
covered  essentially  the  question  of  abandoning  the  war — of 
restoring  everything  to  the  old  status.  Mr.  Lincoln  voted  to 
lay  this  resolution  on  the  table,  and,  when  it  came  up  for 
adoption,  voted  against  it.  The  writer  finds  no  record  of  the 
reasons  for  these  votes.  Whatever  they  may  have  been,  they 
seemed  good  to  him ;  and  he  took  pains  a  few  days  afterward 
to  show  that  they  could  not  have  grown  out  of  any  friendship 
to  the  war.  Indeed,  on  the  very  day  which  saw  these  votes 
recorded,  he  had  an  opportunity  to  vote  that  the  war  "  was 
unnecessarily  and  unconstitutionally  begun  by  the  President 
of  the  United  States,"  in  company  with  nearly  all  the  whig 
members  of  the  House,  southern  no  less  than  northern.  The 
same  men  voted  thanks  to  General  Taylor  for  his  brilliant 
achievements  in  the  war. 

The  speech  of  Mr.  Lincoln  on  the  twelfth  of  January,  in 
committee  of  the  whole  House,  was  thoroughly  characteristic 
of  the  author.  Simple,  direct,  exact  in  its  comprehension  of 
the  points  at  issue,  without  a  superfluous  word  or  sentence,  as 
closely  logical  as  if  it  were  the  work  of  a  professor  of  dialec- 
tics, it  was. the  equal  if  not  the  superior  of  any  speech  deliv- 
ered during  the  session. 

Mr.  Lincoln  spoke  as  follows : 

"  MR.  CHAIRMAN  :  Some,  if  not  all,  of  the  gentlemen  on  the  other 
side  of  the  House,  who  have  addressed  the  committee  within  the  last 
two  days,  have  spoken  rather  complainingly,  if  I  have  rightly  under- 
stood them,  of  the  vote  given  a  week  or  ten  days  ago,  declaring  that 
the  war  with  Mexico  was  unnecessarily  and  unconstitutionally  com- 
menced by  the  President.  I  admit  that  such  a  vote  should  not  be  given 
in  mere  party  wantonness,  and  that  the  one  given  is  justly  censurable, 
if  it  have  no  other  or  better  foundation.  I  ain  one  of  those  who  joined 
in  that  vote ;  and  did  so  under  my  best  impression  of  the  truth  of  the 
case.  How  I  got  this  impression,  and  how  it  may  possibly  be  removed, 
I  will  now  try  to  show.  AVheu  the  war  began,  it  was  my  opinion  that 
all  those  who,  because  of  knowing  too  lillle,  or  because  of  knowing  too 
mucJt,  could  not  conscientiously  approve  the  conduct  of  the  President 
(in  the  beginning  of  it),  should,  nevertheless,  as  good  citizens  and  pat- 
riots, remain  silent  on  that  point,  at  least  till  the  war  should  be  ended. 
Some  leading  Democrats,  including  ex-President  Van  Bureu,  have  taken 


this  same  view,  as  I  understand  them  ;  and  I  adhered  to  it,  and  acted 
upon  it,  until  since  I  took  my  seat  here  ;  and  I  think  I  should  still  ad- 
here to  it,  were  it  not  that  the  President  and  his  friends  will  not  allow 
it  to  be  so.  Besides  the  continual  effort  of  the  President  to  argue 
every  silent  vote  given  for  supplies  into  an  indorsement  of  the  justice 
and  wisdom  of  his  conduct ;  besides  that  singularly  candid  paragraph 
in  his  late  message,  in  which  he  tells  us  that  Congress,  with  great  una- 
nimity (only  two  in  the  Senate  and  fourteen  in  the  House  dissenting) 
had  declared  that '  by  the  act  of  the  Republic  of  Mexico  a  state  of  war 
exists  between  that  Government  and  the  United  States,'  when  the 
same  journals  that  informed  him  of  this,  also  informed  him  that,  when 
that  declaration  stood  disconnected  from  the  question  of  supplies,  sixty- 
seven  in  the  House,  and  not  fourteen,  merely,  voted  against  it ;  besides 
this  open  attempt  to  prove  by  telling  the  truth,  what  he  could  not  prove 
by  telling  the  tchole  truth,  demanding  of  all  who  will  not  submit  to  be 
misrepresented,  in  justice  to  themselves,  to  speak  out ;  besides  all  this, 
one  of  my  colleagues  [Mr.  Richardson],  at  a  very  early  day  in  the  ses- 
sion, brought  in  a  set  of  resolutions,  expressly  indorsing  the  original 
justice  of  the  war  on  the  part  of  the  President.  Upon  these  resolu- 
tions, when  they  shall  be  put  on  their  passage,  I  shall  be  compelled  to 
vote  ;  so  that  I  can  not  be  silent  if  I  would.  Seeing  this,  I  went  about 
preparing  myself  to  give  the  vote  understandiugly,  when  it  should  come. 
I  carefully  examined  the  President's  messages,  to  ascertain  what  he 
himself  had  said  and  proved  upon  the  point.  The  result  of  this  examin- 
ation was  to  make  the  impression,  that,  taking  for  true  all  the  Presi- 
dent states  as  facts,  he  falls  far  short  of  proving  his  justification ;  and 
that  the  President  would  have  gone  further  with  his  proof,  if  it  had  not 
been  for  the  small  matter  that  the  truth  would  not  permit  him.  Under 
the  impression  thus  made  I  gave  the  vote  before  mentioned.  I  propose 
now  to  give,  concisely,  the  process  of  the  examination  I  made,  and  how 
I  reached  the  conclusion  I  did. 

"The  President,  in  his  first  message  of  May,  1846,  declares  that  the 
soil  was  ours  on  which  hostilities  were  commenced  by  Mexico ;  and  he 
repeats  that  declaration,  almost  in  the  same  language,  in  each  successive 
annual  message — thus  showing  that  he  esteems  that  point  a  highly 
essential  one.  In  the  importance  of  that  point  I  entirely  agree  with 
the  President.  To  my  judgment,  it  is  the  very  point  upon  which  he 
should  be  justified  or  condemned.  In  his  message  of  December,  1846, 
it  seems  to  have  occurred  to  him,  as  is  certainly  true,  that  title,  owner- 
ship to  soil,  or  anything  else,  is  not  a  simple  fact,  but  is  a  conclusion 
following  one  or  more  simple  facts ;  and  that  it  was  incumbent  upon 
him  to  present  the  facts  from  which  he  concluded  the  soil  was  ours  on 
which  the  first  blood  of  the  war  was  shed. 

"  Accordingly,  a  little  below  the  middle  of  page  twelve,  in  the  mes- 


sage  last  referred  to,  he  enters  upon  that  task ;  forming  an  issue  and 
introducing  testimony,  extending  the  whole  to  a  little  below  the  middle 
of  page  fourteen.  Now,  I  propose  to  try  to  show  that  the  whole  of 
this — issue  and  evidence — is,  from  beginning  to  end,  the  sheerest  decep- 
tion. The  issue,  as  he  presents  it,  is  in  these  words :  '  But  there  are 
those  who,  conceding  all  this  to  be  true,  assume  the  ground  that  the 
true  western  boundary  of  Texas  is  the  Nueces,  instead  of  the  Rio 
Grande ;  and  that,  therefore,  in  marching  our  army  to  the  east  bank  of 
the  latter  river,  we  passed  the  Texan  line,  and  invaded  the  territory  of 
Mexico.'  Now,  this  issue  is  made  up  of  two  affirmatives  and  no  nega- 
tive. The  main  deception  of  it  is,  that  it  assumes  as  true  that  one  river 
or  the  other  is  necessarily  the  boundary,  and  cheats  the  superficial 
thinker  entirely  out  of  the  idea  that  possibly  the  boundary  is  somewhere 
between  the  two,  and  not  actually  at  either.  A  further  deception  is,  that 
it  will  let  in  evidence  which  a  true  issue  would  exclude.  A  true  issue, 
made  by  the  President,  would  be  about  as  follows;  'I  say  the  soil  was 
ours  on  which  the  first  blood  was  shed;  there  are  those  who  say  it 
was  not.' 

"I  now  proceed  to  examine  the  President's  evidence,  as  applicable  to 
such  an  issue.  When  that  evidence  is  analyzed,  it  is  all  included  in  the 
following  propositions : 

"1.  That  the  Rio  Grande  was  the  western  boundary  of  Louisiana, 
as  we  purchased  it  of  France  in  1803. 

"2.  That  the  Republic  of  Texas  always  claimed  the  Rio  Grande  as 
her  Avestern  boundary. 

"3.     That  by  various  acts,  she  had  claimed  it  on  paper. 

"4.  That  Santa  Anna,  in  his  treaty  with  Texas,  recognized  the  Rio 
Grande  as  her  boundary. 

"5.  That  Texas  before,  and  the  United  States  after,  annexation,  had 
exercised  jurisdiction  beyond  the  Nueces,  beticeen  the  tAvo  rivers. 

"  6.  That  our  Congress  understood  the  boundary  of  Texas  to  extend 
beyond  the  Nueces. 

"  Now  for  each  of  these  in  its  turn : 

"His  first  item  is,  that  the  Rio  Grande  was  the  western  boundary 
of  Louisiana,  as  we  purchased  it  of  France  in  1803;  and,  seeming  to 
expect  this  to  be  disputed,  he  argues  ever  the  amount  of  nearly  a  page 
to  prove  it  true;  at  the  end  of  which,  he  lets  us  know  that,  by  the 
treaty  of  1819,  we  sold  to  Spain  the  whole  country,  from  the  Rio 
Grande  eastward  to  the  Sabine.  Now,  admitting  for  the  present,  that 
the  Rio  Grande  was  the  boundary  of  Louisiana,  what,  under  heaven, 
had  that  to  do  with  the  present  boundary  between  us  and  Mexico? 
How,  Mr.  Chairman,  the  line  that  once  divided  your  land  from  mine 
can  still  be  the  boundary  between  us  after  I  have  sold  my  land  to  you, 
is,  to  me,  beyond  all  comprehension.  And  how  any  man,  with  an  honest 


purpose  only  of  proving  the  truth,  could  ever  have  thought  of  intro- 
ducing such  a  fact  to  prove  such  an  issue,  is  equally  incomprehensible. 
The  outrage  upon  common  right,  of  seizing  as  our  own  what  we  have 
once  sold,  merely  because  it  was  ours  before  we  sold  it,  is  only  equaled 
by  the  outrage  on  common  sense  of  any  attempt  to  justify  it. 

"  The  President's  next  piece  of  evidence  is,  that  '  The  Republic  of 
Texas  always  claimed  this  river  (Rio  Grande)  as  her  western  boundary.' 
That  is  not  true,  in  fact.  Texas  has  claimed  it,  but  she  has  not  always 
claimed  it.  There  is,  at  least,  one  distinguished  exception.  Her  State 
Constitution — the  public's  most  solemn  and  well-considered  act — that 
which  may,  without  impropriety,  be  called  her  last  will  and  testament, 
revoking  all  others — makes  no  such  claim.  But  suppose  she  had  always 
claimed  it.  Has  not  Mexico  always  claimed  the  contrary?  So  that 
there  is  but  claim  against  claim,  leaving  nothing  proved  until  we  get 
back  of  the  claims,  and  find  which  has  the  better  foundation. 

"  Though  not  in  the  order  in  which  the  President  presents  his  evi- 
dence, I  now  consider  that  class  of  his  statements,  which  are,  in  sub- 
stance, nothing  more  than  that  Texas  has  by  various  acts  of  her  Con- 
vention and  Congress,  claimed  the  Rio  Grande  as  her  boundary — on 
paper.  I  mean  here  what  he  says  about  the  fixing  of  the  Rio  Grande 
as  her  boundary,  in  her  old  Constitution  (not  her  State  Constitution,) 
about  forming  congressional  districts,  counties,  etc.  Now,  all  this  is  but 
naked  claim;  and  what  I  have  already  said  about  claims  is  strictly  ap- 
plicable to  this.  If  I  should  claim  your  land  by  word  of  mouth,  that 
certainly  would  not  make  it  mine ;  and  if  I  were  to  claim  it  by  a  deed 
which  I  had  made  myself,  and  with  which  you  had  nothing  to  do,  the 
claim  would  be  quite  the  same  in  substance,  or  rather  in  utter  noth- 

"  I  next  consider  the  President's  statement  that  Santa  Anna,  in  his 
treaty  with  Texas,  recognized  the  Rio  Grande  as  the  western  boundary 
of  Texas.  Besides  the  position  so  often  taken  that  Santa  Anna,  while 
a  prisoner  of  war — a  captive — could  not  bind  Mexico  by  a  treaty,  which 
I  deem  conclusive ;  besides  this,  I  wish  to  say  something  in  relation  to 
this  treaty,  so  called  by  the  President,  with  Santa  Anna.  If  any  man 
would  like-  to  be  amused  by  a  sight  at  that  little  thing,  which  the  Presi- 
dent calls  by  that  big  name,  he  can  have  it  by  turning  to  files'  Register, 
volume  50,  page  336.  And  if  any  one  should  suppose  that  Niles'  Reg- 
ister is  a  curious  repository  of  so  mighty  a  document  as  a  solemn  treaty 
between  nations,  I  can  only  say  that  I  learned,  to  a  tolerable  degree  of 
certainty,  by  inquiry  at  the  State  Department,  that  the  President  him- 
self never  saw  it  anywhere  else.  By  the  way,  I  believe  I  should  not 
err  if  I  were  to  declare,  that  during  the  first  ten  years  of  the  existence 
of  that  document,  it  was  never  by  anybody  called  a  treaty;  that  it  was 
never  so  called  till  the  President,  in  his  extremity,  attempted,  by  so 


calling  it,  to  wring  something  from  it  in  justification  of  himself  in  con- 
nection with  the  Mexican  war.  It  has  none  of  the  distinguishing  fea- 
tures of  a  treaty.  It  does  not  call  itself  a  treaty.  Santa  Anna  does 
not  therein  assume  to  bind  Mexico;  he  assumes  only  to  act  as  President, 
Commander-in-chief  of  the  Mexican  army  and  navy;  stipulates  that  the 
then  present  hostilities  should  cease,  and  that  he  would  not  himself  take 
up  arms,  nor  influence  the  Mexican  people  to  take  up  arms  against  Texas, 
during  the  existence  of  the  war  of  independence.  He  did  not  recognize 
the  independence  of  Texas;  he  did  not  assume  to  put  an  end  to  the  war, 
but  clearly  indicated  his  expectation  of  its  continuance ;  he  did  not  say 
one  word  about  boundary,  and  most  probably  never  thought  of  it.  It 
is  stipulated  therein  that  the  Mexican  forces  should  evacuate  the  terri- 
tory of  Texas,  passing  to  the  other  side  of  the  Rio  Grande:  and  in  another 
article  it  is  stipulated,  that  to  prevent  collisions  between  the  armies, 
the  Texan  army  should  not  approach  nearer  than  within  five  leagues 
— of  what  is  not  said — but  clearly,  from  the  object  stated,  it  is  of  the 
Rio  Grande.  Now,  if  this  is  a  treaty  recognizing  the  Rio  Grande  as  the 
boundary  of  Texas,  it  contains  the  singular  feature  of  stipulating  that 
Texas  shall  not  go  within  five  leagues  of  her  own  boundary. 

"Xext  comes  the  evidence  of  Texas  before  annexation,  and  the 
United  States  afterward,  exercising  jurisdiction  beyond  the  Xueces,  and 
between  the  two  rivers.  This  actual  exercise  of  jurisdiction  is  the  very 
class  or  quality  of  evidence  we  want.  It  is  excellent  so  far  as  it  goes; 
but  does  it  go  far  enough  ?  He  tells  us  it  went  beyond  the  Nueces,  but 
he  does  not  tell  us  it  went  to  the  Rio  Grande.  He  tells  us  jurisdiction 
was  exercised  between  the  two  rivers,  but  he  does  not  tell  us  it  was  ex- 
ercised over  all  the  territory  between  them.  Some  simple-minded  peo- 
ple think  it  possible  to  cross  one  river  and  go  beyond  it,  without  going 
all  the  way  to  the  next ;  that  jurisdiction  may  be  exercised  between  two 
rivers  without  covering  all  the  country  between  them.  I  know  a  man, 
not  very  unlike  myself,  who  exercises  jurisdiction  over  a  piece  of  land 
between  the  Wabash  and  the  Mississippi ;  and  yet  so  far  is  this  from 
being  all  there  is  between  those  rivers,  that  it  is  just  one  hundred  and 
fifty-two  feet  long  by  fifty  wide,  and  no  part  of  it  much  within  a  hund- 
red miles  of  either.  He  has  a  neighbor  between  him  and  the  Missis- 
sippi— that  is,  JHSt  across  the  street,  in  that  direction — whom,  I  am  sure, 
he  could  neither  persuade  nor  force  to  give  up  his  habitation;  but  which, 
nevertheless,  he  could  certainly  annex,  if  it  were  to  be  done,  by  merely 
standing  on  his  own  side  of  the  street  and  claiming  it,  or  even  sitting 
down  and  writing  a  deed  for  it. 

"  But  next,  the  President  tells  us,  the  Congress  of  the  United  States 
underwood  the  State  of  Texas  they  admitted  into  the  Union  to  extend 
beyond  the  Xueces.  Well,  I  suppose  they  did — I  certainly  so  understand 
it — but  how  far  beyond  ?  That  Congress  did  not  understand  it  to  ex- 


tend  clear  to  the  Rio  Grande,  is  quite  certain  by  the  fact  of  their  joint 
resolutions  for  admission  expressly  leaving  all  questions  of  boundary  to 
future  adjustment.  Ami,  it  may  be  added,  that  Texas  herself  is  proved 
to  have  had  the  same  understanding  of  it  that  our  Congress  had,  by  the 
fact  of  the  exact  conformity  of  her  new  Constitution  to  those  resolu- 

"  I  am  now  through  the  whole  of  the  President's  evidence ;  and  it  is 
a  singular  fact,  that  if  any  one  should  declare  the  President  sent  the 
army  into  the  midst  of  a  settlement  of  Mexican  people,  who  had  never 
submitted,  by  consent  or  by  force  to  the  authority  of  Texas  or  of  the 
United  States,  and  that  there,  and  thereby,  the  first  blood  of  the  war  was 
shed,  there  is  not  one  word  in  all  the  President  has  said  which  would 
either  admit  or  deny  the  declaration.  In  this  strange  omission  chiefly 
consists  the  deception  of  the  President's  evidence — an  omission  which, 
it  does  seem  to  me,  could  scarcely  have  occurred  but  by  design.  My 
way  of  living  leads  me  to  be  about  the  courts  of  justice ;  and  there  I 
have  some  times  seen  a  good  lawyer,  struggling  for  his  client's  neck,  in  a 
desperate  case,  employing  every  artifice  to  work  round,  befog,  and  cover 
up  with  many  words  some  position  pressed  upon  him  by  the  prosecution, 
which  he  dared  not  admit,  and  yet  c-juld  not  deny.  Party  bias  may  help 
to  make  it  appear  so ;  but,  with  all  the  allowance  I  can  make  for  such 
bias,  it  still  does  appear  to  me  that  just  such,  and  from  just  such  neces^ 
sity,  are  the  President's  struggles  in  this  case. 

"  Some  time  after  my  colleague  (Mr.  Richardson)  introduced  the 
resolutions  I  have  mentioned,  I  introduced  a  preamble,  resolution,  and 
interrogatories,  intended  to  draw  the  President  out,  if  possible,  on  this 
hitherto  untrodden  ground.  To  show  their  relevancy,  J  propose  to  state 
my  understanding  of  the  true  rule  for  ascertaining  the  boundary  be- 
tween Texas  and  Mexico.  It  is,  that  whererer  Texas  was  exercising  ju- 
risdiction was  hers ;  and  wherever  Mexico  was  exercising  jurisdiction 
was  hers :  and  that  whatever  separated  the  actual  exercise  of  jurisdic- 
tion of  the  one  from  that  of  the  other,  was  the  true  boundary  between 
them.  If,  as  is  probably  true,  Texas  was  exercising  jurisdiction  along 
the  western  bank  of  the  Nueces,  and  Mexico  was  exercising  it  along 
the  eastern  bank  of  the  Rio  Grande,  then  neither  river  was  the  boundary, 
but  the  uninhabited  country  between  the  two  was.  The  extent  of  our 
territory  in  that  region  depended  not  on  any  treaty-fixed  boundary  (for 
no  treaty  had  attempted  it),  but  on  revolution.  Any  people  anywhere, 
being  inclined  and  having  the  power,  have  the  right  to  rise  up  and  shake 
off  the  existing  government,  and  form  a  new  one  that  stiits  them  better. 
This  is  a  most  valuable,  a  most  sacred  right — a  right  which,  we  hope 
and  believe,  is  to  liberate  the  world.  Nor  is  this  right  confined  to  cases 
in  which  ^the  whole  people  of  an  existing  government  may  choose  to 
exercise  it.  Any  portion  of  such  people  that  can  may  revolutionize, 


and  make  their  oicn  of  so  much  of  the  territory  as  they  inhabit.  More 
than  this,  a  majority  of  any  portion  of  such  people  may  revolutionize, 
putting  down  a  minority,  intermingled  with,  or  near  about  them,  who 
may  oppose  their  movements.  Such  minority  was  precisely  the  case  of 
the  Tories  of  our  own  Revolution.  It  is  a  quality  of  revolutions  not  to 
go  by  old  lines,  or  old  laws ;  but  to  break  up  both,  and  make  new  ones. 
As  to  the  country  now  in  question,  we  bought  it  of  France  in  1803,  and 
sold  it  to  Spain  in  1819,  according  to  the  President's  statement.  After 
this,  all  Mexico,  including  Texas,  revolutionized  against  Spain;  and  still 
later,  Texas  revolutionized  against  Mexico.  Jn  my  view,  just  so  far  as 
she  carried  her  revolution,  by  obtaining  the  actual,  willing  or  unwilling 
submission  of  the  people,  so  far  the  country  was  hers,  and  no  further. 

"  Now,  sir,  for  the  purpose  of  obtaining  the  very  best  evidence  as  to 
•whether  Texas  had  actually  carried  her  revolution  to  the  place  where 
the  hostilities  of  the  present  war  commenced,  let  the  President  answer 
the  interrogatories  I  proposed,  as  before  mentioned,  or  some  other  simi- 
lar ones.  Let  him  answer  fully,  fairly  and  candidly.  Let  him  answer 
with/oc/s,  and  not  with  arguments.  Let  him  remember  he  sits  where 
Washington  sat ;  and,  so  remembering,  let  him  answer  as  Washington 
would  answer.  As  a  nation  sliuidd  not,  and  the  Almighty  will  not,  be 
evaded,  so  let  him  attempt  no  evasion,  no  equivocation.  And  if,  so  an- 
swering, he  can  show  that  the  soil  was  ours  where  the  first  blood  of  the 
war  was  shed — that  it  was  not  within  an  inhabited  country,  or,  if  within 
such,  that  the  inhabitants  had  submitted  themselves  to  the  civil  author- 
ity of  Texas,  or  of  the  United  States,  and  that  the  same  is  true  of  the 
site  of  Fort  Brown — then  1  am  with  him  for  his  justification.  In  that 
case,  I  shall  be  most  happy  to  reverse  the  vote  I  gave  the  other  day.  I 
have  a  selfish  motive  for  desiring  that  the  President  may  do  this ;  I  ex- 
pect to  give  some  votes,  in  connection  with  the  war,  which,  without  his 
so  doing,  will  be  of  doubtful  propriety,  in  my  own  judgment,  but  which 
will  be  free  from  the  doubt,  if  he  does  so.  But  if  he  can  not  or  u-ill  not 
do  this — if,  on  any  pretense,  or  no  pretense,  he  shall  refuse  or  omit  it — 
then  I  shall  be  fully  convinced,  of  what  I  more  than  suspect  already, 
that  he  is  deeply  conscious  of  being  in  the  wrong;  that  be  feels  the 
blood  of  this  war,  like  the  blood  of  Abel,  is  crying  to  heaven  against 
him ;  that  he  ordered  General  Taylor  into  the  midst  of  a  peaceful  Mexi- 
can settlement,  purposely  to  bring  on  a  war;  that  originally  having  some 
strong  motive — what  I  will  not  stop  now  to  give  my  opinion  concern- 
ing— to  involve  the  two  countries  in  a  war,  and  trusting  to  escape 
scrutiny  by  fixing  the  public  gaze  upon  the  exceeding  brightness  of 
military  glory — that  attractive  rainbow  that  rises  in  showers  of  blood — 
that  serpent's  eye  that  charms  to  destroy — he  plunged  into  it,  and  has 
swept  on  and  on,  till,  disappointed  in  his  calculation  of  the  ease  with 
whicli  Mexico  might  be  subdued,  ha  now  finds  himself  he  knows  not 


where.  How  like  the  half  insane  mumbling  of  a  fever  dream  is  the 
whole  war  part  of  the  late  message  !  At  one  time  telling  us  that  Mexico 
has  nothing  whatever  that  we  can  get  but  territory ;  at  another,  show- 
ing us  how  we  can  support  the  war  by  levying  contributions  on  Mexico. 
At  one  time  urging  the  national  honor,  the  security  of  the  future,  the 
prevention  of  foreign  interference,  and  even  the  good  of  Mexico  herself, 
as  among  the  objects  of  the  war ;  at  another,  telling  us  that,  '  to  reject 
indemnity  by  refusing  to  accept  a  cession  of  territory,  would  be  to 
abandon  all  our  just  demands,  and  to  wage  the  war,  bearing  all  its  ex- 
penses, without  a  purpose  or  definite  object'  So,  then,  the  national  honor, 
security  of  the  future,  and  everything  but  territorial  indemnity,  may  be 
considered  the  no  purposes  and  indefinite  objects  of  the  war !  But  hav- 
ing it  now  settled  that  territorial  indemnity  is  the  only  object,  we  are 
urged  to  seize,  by  legislation  here,  all  that  he  was  content  to  take  a  few 
months  ago,  and  the  whole  province  of  Lower  California  to  boot,  and 
to  still  carry  on  the  war — to  take  all  we  are  fighting  for,  and  still  fight 
on.  Again,  the  President  is  resolved,  under  all  circumstances,  to  have 
full  territorial  indemnity  for  the  expenses  of  the  war ;  but  he  forgets  to 
tell  us  how  we  are  to  get  the  excess  after  those  expenses  shall  have  sur- 
passed the  value  of  the  ivliole  of  the  Mexican  territory.  So,  again,  he 
insists  that  the  separate  national  existence  of  Mexico  shall  be  main- 
tained ;  but  he  does  not  tell  us  Tiow  this  can  be  done  after  we  shall  have 
taken  all  her  territory.  Lest  the  questions  I  here  suggest  be  considered 
speculative  merely,  let  me  be  indulged  a  moment  in  trying  to  show  they 
are  not. 

"The  war  has  gone  on  some  twenty  months,  for  the  expenses  of 
which,  together  with  an  inconsiderable  old  score,  the  President  now 
claims  about  one  half  of  the  Mexican  territory,  and  that  by  far  the 
better  half,  so  far  as  concerns  our  ability  to  make  anything  out  of  it. 
It  is  comparatively  uninhabited ;  so  that  we  could  establish  laud  offices 
in  it,  and  raise  some  money  in  that  way.  But  the  other  half  is  already 
inhabited,  as  I  understand  it,  tolerably  densely  for  the  nature  of  the 
country ;  and  all  its  lands,  or  all  that  are  valuable,  already  appropriated 
as  private  property.  How,  then,  are  we  to  make  anything  out  of  these 
lands  with  this  incumbrance  on  them,  or  how  remove  the  incumbrance  ? 
I  suppose  no  one  will  say  we  should  kill  the  people,  or  drive  them 
out,  or  make  slaves  of  them,  or  even  confiscate  their  property?  How, 
then,  can  we  make  much  out  of  this  part  of  the  territory?  If  the 
prosecution  of  the  war  has,  in  expenses,  already  equaled  the  better  half 
of  the  country,  how  long  its  future  prosecution  will  be  in  equaling  the 
less  valuable  half  is  not  a  speculative  but  a  practical  question,  pressing 
closely  upon  us ;  and  yet  it  is  a  question  which  the  President  seems 
never  to  have  thought  of. 

"As  to  the  mode  of  terminating  the  war  and  securing  peace,  the 


President  is  equally  -wandering  and  indefinite.  First,  it  is  to  be  done 
by  a  more  vigorous  prosecution  of  the  war  in  tlie  vital  parts  of  the  en- 
emy's country;  and,  after  apparently  talking  himself  tired  on  this  point, 
the  President  drops  down  into  a  half  despairing  tone,  and  tells  us,  that 
'with  a  people  distracted  and  divided  by  contending  factions,  and  a 
government  subject  to  constant  changes,  by  successive  revolutions,  the 
continued  success  of  our  arms  may  fail  to  obtain  a  satisfactory  peace? 
Then  he  suggests  the  propriety  of  wheedling  the  Mexican  people  to 
desert  the  counsels  of  their  own  leaders,  and,  trusting  in  our  protection, 
to  set  up  a  government  from  which  we  can  secure  a  satisfactory  peace, 
telling  us  that '  this  may  become  the  only  mode  of  obtaining  such  a  peace.' 
But  soon  he  falls  into  doubt  of  this  too,  and  then  drops  back  on  to  the 
already  half-abandoned  ground  of  'more  vigorous  prosecvttion.'  All 
this  shows  that  the  President  is  in  no  wise  satisfied  with  his  own  po- 
sitions. First,  he  takes  up  one,  and,  in  attempting  to  argue  us  into  it, 
he  argues  himself  out  of  it;  then  seizes  another,  and  goes  through  the 
same  process;  and  then,  confused  at  being  able  to  think  of  nothing  new, 
he  snatches  up  the  old  one  again,  which  he  has  some  time  before  cast 
off.  His  mind,  tasked  beyond  its  power,  is  running  hither  and  thither, 
like  some  tortured  creature  on  a  burning  surface,  finding  no  position  on. 
which  it  can  settle  down  and  be  at  ease. 

"  Again,  it  is  a  singular  omission  in  this  message,  that  it  nowhere  in- 
timates trhcn  the  President  expects  the  war  to  terminate.  At  its  begin- 
ning, General  Scott  was,  by  this  same  President,  driven  into  disfavor, 
if  not  disgrace,  for  intimating  that  peace  could  not  be  conquered  in  less 
than  three  or  four  months.  But  now  at  the  end  of  about  twenty 
months,  during  which  time  our  arms  have  given  us  the  most  splendid 
successes — every  department,  and  every  part,  land  and  water,  officers 
and  privates,  regulars  and  volunteers,  doing  all  that  men  could  do,  and 
hundreds  of  things  which  it  had  ever  before  been  thought  that  men 
could  not  do:  after  all  this,  this  same  President  gives  us  a  long  message 
without  showing  us  that,  «>•  to  the  end,  he  has  himself  even  an  imaginary 
conception.  As  I  have  before  said,  he  knows  not  where  he  is.  He  is  a 
bewildered,  confounded,  and  miserably-perplexed  man.  God  grant  he 
may  be  able  to  show  that  there  is  not  something  about  his  conscience 
more  painful  than  all  his  mental  perplexity." 

With  this  speech  on  record,  it  is  strange  that  the  genuine 
literary  abilities  of  the  man  were  so  long  and  so  persistently 
ignored  by  literary  people.  There  were  men  who  voted  for 
him  for  the  presidency  more  than  twelve  years  afterwards — 
twelve  years  of  culture  and  development  to  him — who  were 
surprised  to  find  his  messages  grammatically  constructed,  and 


who  suspected  the  intervention  of  a  secretary  whenever  any 
touch  of  elegance  appeared  in  his  writings. 

Mr.  Lincoln  had  a  position  on  the  Committee  on  Post-offices 
and  Post-roads,  and,  from  the  knowledge  in  his  possession,  felt 
called  upon  a  few  days  previous  to  the  speech  on  the  war  to 
expose  a  difficulty  between  the  Postmaster-general  and  a 
transportation  company,  anxious  to  get  the  "  Great  Southern 
Mail"  contract,  and  to  get  a  better  contract  than  the  depart- 
ment had  offered.  The  matter  had  excited  some  interest  in 
Congress,  and  Mr.  Lincoln  showed  a  faithful  study  of  the 
facts  of  the  case  in  his  speech  and  his  freedom  from  any  party 
feeling  in  the  matter,  by  supporting  the  position  of  the  Post- 

On  the  1st  of  June,  1848,  the  National  Whig.  Convention 
met  at  Philadelphia  to  nominate  a  candidate  for  the  presidency, 
and  Mr.  Lincoln  was  among  its  members.  Mr.  Polk,  by  his 
war  with  Mexico,  had  been  engaged,  much  against  his  incli- 
nations, in  manufacturing  available  if  not  able  candidates  for 
his  own  place,  two  of  whom  afterwards  achieved  it.  General 
Taylor  had  become  a  hero.  The  brilliancy  of  his  victories 
and  the  modesty  of  his  dispatches  had  awakened  in  his  behalf 
the  enthusiastic  admiration  of  the  American  people,  without 
distinction  of  party.  He  was  claimed  by  the  whigs  as  a 
member  of  that  party,  and  regarded  by  them  as  the  one  man 
in  the  Union  by  whose  popularity  they  might  hope  to  win  the 
power  they  coveted.  The  majority  would  doubtless  have  pre- 
ferred Mr.  Clay,  but  Mr.  Clay  had  been  their  candidate,  and 
had  been  beaten.  Mr.  Lincoln  would  have  been  glad  to  sup- 
port Mr.  Clay,  it  is  not.  doubted,  but  he  shared  in  the  feeling 
of  the  majority  concerning  his  "  availability."  It  is  possible  that 
his  visit  to  Mr.  Clay,  and  its  unsatisfactory  results,  already 
alluded  to,  had  somewhat  blunted  his  devotion  and  subdued 
his  enthusiasm  on  behalf  of  the  great  chieftain.  Certain  it  is 
that  he  was  among  those  who  believed  that  General  Taylor 
and  not  Mr.  Clay  should  be  the  nominee  of  his  party. 

Congress  had  continued  its  session  into  the  summer,  either 
for  purposes  of  business,  or  with  the  design  to  control  the 


nominating  conventions,  and  do  something  to  direct  the  cam- 
paign ;  and  when  the  nominations  were  made  it  did  according 
to  its  custom,  and  immediately  commenced  the  campaign  in  a 
series  of  speeches.  About  two  months  after  General  Taylor 
was  nominated,  (July  twenty-seventh,)  Mr.  Lincoln  secured 
the  floor,  and  made  a  speech  concerning  the  points  at  issue 
between  the  two  parties,  and  the  merits  of  the  respective 
candidates,  General  Cass  having  received  the  nomination  of 
the  democratic  party.  It  was  a  telling,  trenchant  talk,  rather 
than  a  speech — more  like  one  of  his  stump  orations  in  Illinois 
than  like  his  previous  efforts  in  the  House.  As  a  campaign 
harangue,  touching  the  salient  features  of  the  principal  ques- 
tions in  debate,  and  revealing  the  weak  points  of  one  candidate 
and  the  strong  points  of  the  other,  it  could  not  have  been  im- 
proved. Considered  as  a  part  of  the  business  which  he  was 
sent  to  AVashington  to  perform,  it  was  execrable.  He  did 
what  others  did,  and  what  his  partisan  supporters  expected 
him  to  do ;  but  his  own  sense  of  propriety  must  have  suggest- 
ed to  him,  or  ought  to  have  suggested  to  him  if  it  did  not, 
the  indecency  of  the  practice  of  president-making  in  Congress. 
In  the  light  of  subsequent  events,  the  speech  contains  some 
passages  that  are  very  curious  and  suggestive.  In  revealing 
the  position  and  policy  of  General  Taylor  in  1848,  he  was 
unconsciously  marking  out  his  own  in  I860  and  1864.  Gen- 
eral Taylor,  in  a  letter  to  Mr.  Allison,  had  said,  "upon  the 
subject  of  the  tariff,  the  currency,  the  improvement  of  our 
great  highways,  rivers,  lakes  and  harbors,  the  will  of  the 
people,  as  expressed  through  their  representatives  in  Congress, 
ought  to  be  respected  and  carried  out  by  the  executive." 
Mr.  Lincoln,  in  remarking  upon  this,  said:  "The  people  say 
to  General  Taylor, '  if  you  are  elected,  shall  we  have  a  national 
bank?'  He  answei's,  'Your  will,  gentlemen,  not  mine.' 
'What  about  the  tariff?'  ' Say  yourselves.'  ' Shall  our  riv- 
ers and  harbors  be  improved?'  '  Just  as  you  please.  If  you 
desire  a  bank,  an  alteration  of  the  tariff,  internal  improve- 
ments, any  or  all,  I  will  not  hinder  you ;  if  you  do  not  desire 
them,  I  will  not  attempt  to  force  them  on  you.  Send  up  your 

LIFE   OF   ABRAHAM   LINCOLN.      „    •  115 

members  of  Congress  from  the  various  districts,  with  opinions 
according  to  your  own,  and  if  they  are  for  these  measures,  or 
any  of  them,  I  shall  have  nothing  to  oppose ;  if  they  are  not 
for  them,  I  shall  not,  by  any  appliances  whatever,  attempt  to 
dragoon  them  into  their  adoption.'"  From  this  point  Mr. 
Lincoln  went  on  to  show  in  what  respect  a  president  is  a 
representative  of  the  people.  He  said:  "In  a  certain  sense, 
and  to  a  certain  extent,  he  is  a  representative  of  the  people. 
He  is  elected  by  them  as  Congress  is.  But  can  he,  in  the  na- 
ture of  things,  know  the  wants  of  the  people  as  well  as  three 
hundred  other  men  coming  from  all  the  various  localities  of  the 
nation?  If  so,  where  is  the  propriety  of  having  a  Congress?" 

There  is  much  in  this  exposition  of  General  Taylor's  posi- 
tion to  remind  us  of  that  upon  which  the  speaker  himself 
subsequently  stood,  when  invested  with  the  powers  of  the 
chief  magistracy. 

Mr.  Lincoln's  dissection  of  General  Cass'  position  upon  the 
questions  of  the  canvass,  was  effected  with  characteristic  neat- 
ness and  thoroughness.  Alluding  to  the  subject  of  internal 
improvements  Mr.  Lincoln  said,  "My  internal  improvement 
colleague  (Mr.  Wentworth)  stated  on  this  floor  the  other  day 
that  he  was  satisfied  Cass  was  for  improvements  because  that 
he  had  voted  for  all  the  bills  that  he  (Wentworth)  had.  So 
far,  so  good.  But  Mr.  Polk  vetoed  some  of  these  very  bills ; 
the  Baltimore  Convention  passed  a  set  of  resolutions  among 
other  things  approving  these  vetoes,  and  Cass  declares  in  his 
letter  accepting  the  nomination  that  he  has  carefully  read  these 
resolutions,  and  that  he  adheres  to  them  as  firmly  as  he  ap- 
proves them  cordially.  In  other  words,  General  Cass  voted 
for  the  bills,  and  thinks  the  President  did  right  to  veto  them ; 
and  his  friends  here  are  amiable  enough  to  consider  him  as 
being  one  side  or  the  other,  just  as  one  or  the  other  may 
correspond  with  their  own  respective  inclinations.  My  col- 
league admits  that  the  platform  declares  against  the  constitu- 
tionality of  a  general  system  of  improvements,  and  that  Gen- 
eral Cass  indorses  the  platform,  but  he  still  thinks  General 
Cass  is  in  favor  of  some  sort  of  improvements.  Well,  what 


are  they?  As  he  is  against  general  objects,  those  he  is  for 
must  be  particular  and  local.  Now  this  is  taking  the  subject 
precisely  by  the  wrong  end.  Particularity — expending  the 
money  of  the  whole  people  for  an  object  which  will  benefit 
only  a  portion  of  them — is  the  greatest  real  objection  to  im- 
provements, and  has  been  so  held  by  General  Jackson,  Mr. 
Polk,  and  all  others,  I  believe,  till  now."  Certainly  this  was 
a  very  logical  exposition  of  General  Cass  on  internal  improve- 
ments; and  the  charge  of  double  dealing  or  gross  inconsist- 
ency which  it  involved  was  unanswerable. 

Mr.  Lincoln  tried  his  powers  of  ridicule  on  General  Cass 
on  this  occasion.  One  of  his  palpable  hits  has  already  been 
quoted  in  connection  with  the  history  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  par- 
ticipation in  the  Black  Hawk  war,  in  which  he  draws  a  par- 
allel between  his  own  bloodless  experiences  and  those  of  the 
democratic  candidate.  Quoting  extracts  to  show  how  General 
Cass  had  vacillated  in  his  action  on  the  Wilmot  Proviso,  he 
added,  "  These  extracts  show  that  in  1846  General  Cass  was 
for  the  Proviso  at  once,  that  in  March,  1847,  he  was  still  for 
it,  but  not  just  then ;  and  that  in  December  he  was  against  it 
altogether.  This  is  a  true  index  to  the  whole  man.  When 


the  question  was  raised  in  1846,  he  was  in  a  blustering  hurry 
to  take  ground  for  it,  *  *  *  but  soon  he  began  to  see  glimpses 
of  the  great  democratic  ox-gad  waving  in  his  face,  and  to 
hear  indistinctly,  a  voice  saying,  'back!  back,  sir!  back  a 
little ! '  He  shakes  his  head,  and  bats  his  eyes,  and  blunders 
back  to  his  position  of  March,  1847  ;  but  still  the  gad  waves, 
and  the  voice  grows  more  distinct  and  sharper  still — '  back, 
sir!  back,  I  say!  further  back!'  and  back  he  goes  to  the 
position  of  December,  1847 ;  at  which  the  gad  is  still,  and 
the  voice  soothingly  says — 'so!  stand  still  at  that!"  The 
homely  illustration,  culled  from  his  early  experiences,  was 
certainly  forcible,  if  not  elegant. 

In  this  political  canvass,  the  whigs  found  themselves  nearly 
as  much  perplexed  in  the  treatment  of  the  Mexican  war  as 
they  had  been  in  Congress.  They  had  selected  as  their  can- 
didate a  man  whose  reputation  had  been  made  by  the  success- 


ful  prosecution  of  a  war  which  they  had  opposed.  They 
were  charged,  of  course,  with  inconsistency  by  their  oppo- 
nents, and  were  placed  in  the  awkward  position  of  being 
obliged  to  draw  nice  distinctions.  It  is  possible  that  they  de- 
served the  embarrassment  from  which  they  suffered.  General 
Taylor  had,  beyond  dispute,  been  nominated  because  he  was 
a  military  hero,  and  not  because  he  had  any  natural  or  ac- 
quired fitness  for  the  presidency.  The  war  had  made  him ; 
and  the  whigs  had  seized  upon  this  product  of  the  war  as  an 
instrument  by  which  they  might  acquire  power.  Mr.  Lincoln 
alluded  to  this  in  his  speech,  but  showed  that  while  the  whigs 
had  believed  the  war  to  be  unnecessarily  and  unconstitution- 
ally begun,  they  had  voted  supplies,  and  sent  their  men. 
"Through  suffering  and  death,"  said  he,  "by  disease  and  in 
battle,  they  have  endured,  and  fought,  and  fallen  with  you. 
Clay  and  Webster  each  gave  a  son,  never  to  be  returned. 
From  the  state  of  my  own  residence,  besides  other  worthy 
but  less  known  whig  names,  we  sent  Marshall,  Morrison, 
Baker  and  Hardin ;  they  all  fought,  and  one  fell,  and  in  the 
fall  of  that  one  we  lost  our  best  whig  man.  Xor  were  the 
whigs  few  in  numbers,  or  laggard  in  the  day  of  danger.  In 
that  fearful,  bloody,  breathless  struggle  at  Buena  Vista,  where 
each  man's  hard  task  was  to  beat  back  five  foes,  or  die  him- 
self, of  the  five  high  officers  who  perished,  four  were  whigs." 
With  an  allusion  to  the  distinction  between  the  cause  of  the 
President  in  beginning  the  war,  and  the  cause  of  the  country 
after  it  was  begun,  Mr.  Lincoln  closed  his  speech. 

During  the  time  these  presidential  discussions  were  going 
on  in  Congress,  Mr.  Lincoln  was  in  close  communication  with 
the  whig  leaders  in  Illinois,  laying  out  the  work  of  the  can- 
vass, and  trying  to  convert  the  active  men  of  the  party  to  his 
own  ideas  of  sound  policy  in  the  conduct  of  the  campaign. 
Indeed,  he  began  this  work  before  General  Taylor  was  nomi- 
nated, under  the  evident  conviction  that  he  would  be  the  can- 
didate, and  the  strong  desire  that  he  should  be.  As  early  in 
the  year  as  February  twentieth,  he  wrote  a  letter  to  U.  F. 
Linder,  a  prominent  whig  orator  of  Illinois,  on  this  subject. 


It  betrays  the  perplexity  to  which  more  than  one  allusion  has 
been  made,  of  the  whigs  at  the  time.  Mr.  Lincoln  says,  in 
this  letter,  "  In  law,  it  is  good  policy  to  never  plead  what  you 
need  not,  lest  you  oblige  yourself  to  prove  what  you  cannot. 
Keflect  on  this  well  before  you  proceed.  The  application  I 
mean  to  make  of  this  rule  is  that  you  should  simply  go  for 
General  Taylor,  because  you  can  take  some  democrats  and 
lose  no  whigs;  but  if  you  go  also  for'Mr.  Polk,  on  the  origin 
and  mode  of  prosecuting  the  war,  you  will  still  take  some 
democrats,  but  you  will  lose  more  whigs,  so  that,  in  the  sum 
of  the  operation,  you  will  be  loser.  This  is,  at  least,  my  opin- 
ion ;  and  if  you  will  look  around,  I  doubt  if  you  do  not  dis- 
cover such  to  be  the  fact  among  your  own  neighbors.  Fur- 
ther than  this :  by  justifying  Mr.  Folk's  mode  of  prosecuting 
the  war,  you  put  yourself  in  opposition  to  General  Taylor 
himself,  for  we  all  know  he  has  declared  for,  and,  in  fact, 
originated,  the  defensive  line  policy." 

In  this  letter,  Mr.  Lincoln  talks  like  a  politician  (and  he 
was  one  of  the  most  acute  that  the  country  ever  produced,) 
to  a  politician.  It  looks  as  if  he  were  handling  grave  ques- 
tions of  state  with  reference  only  to  party  ends  ;  but  the  letter 
does  not  represent  him  wholly.  In  a  subsequent  note  to  the 
same  friend,  in  answer  to  the  question  whether  "  it  would  not 
be  just  as  easy  to  elect  General  Taylor  without  opposing  the 
war,  as  by  opposing  it,"  he  replies:  "the  locofocos  here  will 
not  let  the  whigs  be  silent,  *  *  *  so  that  they  are  compelled 
to  speak,  and  their  only  option  is  whether  they  will,  when  they 
speak,  tell  the  truth,  or  tell  a  foul,  villainous  and  bloody 
falsehood."  In  this  declaration,  the  politician  sinks,  and  the 
man  rises,  and  seems  to  be  what  he  really  is — honest  and 

On  the  fourteenth  day  of  August,  the  first  session  of  the 
Thirtieth  Congress  came  to  a  close,  and  the  members  went 
home  to  continue  and  complete  the  campaign  which  they  had 
inaugurated  at  Washington.  The  session  hud  been  one  of 
strong  excitements,  particular  interest  attaching  to  every  im- 
portant debate  in  consequence  of  its  bearing  upon  the  question 


of  the  presidency.  Mr.  Li:icoln  had  discharged  his  duties 
well — ably  and  conscientiously,  at  least.  He  found  to  his  re- 
gret that  he  had  not  entirely  pleased  his  constituents  in  his 
course  on  the  questions  connected  with  the  war.  It  is  probable 
that  he  could  have  secured  a  renomination  had  he  himself  been 
willing  to  risk  the  result.  That  a  man  with  his  desire  for 
public  life  would  willingly  retire  from  Congress  at  the  end  of 
a  single  term  of  service  is  not  probable ;  and  while  it  has  been 
said  that  he  peremptorily  refused  to  be  again  considered  a 
candidate,  on  account  of  his  desire  to  engage  more  exclusively 
in  the  duties  of  his  profession,  it  is  not  credible  that  this  was 
his  only  motive.*  Indeed,  there  is  evidence  that  he  sought 
another  office,  in  consequence  of  the  fact  that  his  professional 
business  had  suffered  so  severely  by  his  absence  that  he  would 
have  been  glad  to  quit  it  altogether.  He  was  in  no  hurry  to 
return  to  it,  certainly,  for  at  the  close  of  the  session,  he  visited 
New  England,  and  made  a  number  of  very  effective  campaign 
speeches,  and  then  went  home,  and  devoted  his  time  to  the 
canvass  for  the  election  of  General  Taylor  until  he  had  the 
satisfaction  of  witnessing  the  triumph  of  his  candidate,  and 
the  national  success  of  the  party  to  whose  fortunes  he  had 
been  so  long  and  so  warmly  devoted. 

In  his  own  district,  Mr.  Lincoln  helped  to  give  General 
Taylor  a  majority  nearly  equal  to  that  by  which  he  had  been 
elected  to  Congress.  The  general  result  of  the  election  brought 
to  him  great  satisfaction.  It  justified  his  own  judgment  touch- 
ing the  candidate's  availability,  and  promised  a  return  to  the 
policy  which  he  believed  essential  to  the  welfare  of  the  country. 
But  little  time  was  left  between  the  close  of  the  canvass  and 
the  commencement  of  the  second  session,  so  that  Mr.  Lincoln 
had  no  more  than  sufficient  space  for  the  transaction  of  his 
personal  business  at  home,  before  he  was  obliged  to  take  his 
departure  again  for  Washington. 

The  second  session  of  this  Congress  was  comparatively  a 

*Mr.  Scripps,  in  his  campaign  biography,  says  that  his  refusal  to  be 
again  a  candidate,  was  in  accordance  with  an  understanding  with  the 
leading  whigs  of  his  district  before  his  election. 


quiet  one.  Several  months  had  elapsed  since  the  treaty  of 
Guadalupe  Hidalgo  had  ratified  peace  between  the  United 
States  and  Mexico,  the  presidential  campaign  had  transpired, 
and  the  national  political  caldron  had  ceased  to  boil.  Mr. 
Lincoln  carried  into  this  session  the  anti-slavery  record  of  an 
anti-slavery  whig.  He  had  voted  forty-two  times  for  the 
Wilmot  Proviso,  had  stood  firmly  by  John  Quincy  Adams 
and  Joshua  R.  Giddings  on  the  right  of  petition,  and  was 
recognized  as  a  man  who  would  do  as  much  in  opposition  to 
slavery  as  his  constitutional  obligations  would  permit  him  to 
do.  Early  in  the  session,  Mr.  Gott  of  New  York  introduced 
a  resolution  instructing  the  Committee  on  the  District  of  Co- 
lumbia to  report  a  bill  prohibiting  the  slave  trade  in  the  Dis- 
trict. The  language  of  the  preamble  upon  which  the  resolu- 
tion was  based  was  very  strong,  and  doubtless  seemed  to  Mr. 
Lincoln  unnecessarily  offensive ;  and  we  find  him  voting  with 
the  pro-slavery  men  of  the  House  to  lay  it  on  the  table,  and 
subsequently  voting  against  its  adoption.  He  had  probably 
been  maturing  a  measure  which  he  intended  should  cover  the 
same  ground,  in  another  way,  and  on  the  sixteenth  of  January 
he  introduced  a  substitute  for  this  resolution,  which  had  been 
carried  along  under  a  motion  to  reconsider.  It  provided  that 
no  person  not  within  the  District,  and  no  person  thereafter 
born  within  the  District,  should  be  held  to  slavery  within  the 
District,  or  held  to  slavery  without  its  limits,  while  it  provided 
that  those  holding  slaves  in  the  slave  states  might  bring  them 
in  and  take  them  out  again,  when  visiting  the  District  on 
public  business.  It  also  provided  for  the  emancipation  of  all 
the  slaves  legally  held  within  the  District,  at  the  will  of  their 
masters,  who  could  claim  their  full  value  at  the  hands  of  the 
government,  and  that  the  act  itself  should  be  subject  to  the 
approval  of  the  voters  of  the  District.  The  bill  had  also  a 
provision,  "  that  the  municipal  authorities  of  Washington  and 
Georgetown,  within  their  respective  jurisdictional  limits," 
should  be  "  empowered  and  required  to  provide  active  and 
efficient  means  to  arrest  and  deliver  up  to  their  owners  all 
fugitive  slaves  escaping  into  said  District." 


If  any  evidence  were  needed  to  establish  the  fact  that  Mr. 
Lincoln  regarded  slaves  as  property  under  the  Constitution, 
this  bill  would  seem  to  furnish  all  that  is  desired.  If  he  did 
not  so  regard  them,  this  bill  convicts  him  of  friendliness  rather 
than  enmity  to  slavery.  If  he  did  not  so  regard  them,  his 
whole  record  relating  to  slavery  was  a  record  of  duplicity. 
Mr.  Lincoln's  character  as  an  anti-slavery  man  can  have  no 
consistency  on  any  basis  except  that  of  his  firm  belief  that 
slaves  were  recognized  as  property  under  the  Constitution  of 
the  United  States;  and  those  who  impute  to  him  the  opposite 
opinion,  or  action  based  upon  the  opposite  opinion,  inflict  a 
wrong  upon  his  memory.*  He  recognized  slaves  as  property 
not  only  in  Congress,  but  on  the  stump  and  even  in  his  busi- 
ness. He  was  once  employed  by  General  Matteson  of  Bour- 
bon County,  Kentucky,  who  had  brought  five  or  six  negroes 
into  Coles  County,  Illinois,  and  worked  them  on  a  farm  for 
two  or  three  years,  to  get  them  out  of  the  hands  of  the  civil 
authorities,  which  had  interfered  to  keep  him  from  taking  them 
back  to  Kentucky.  Judge  Wilson  and  Judge  Treat,  both  of 
the  Supreme  Court,  sat  on  the  case,  and  decided  against  the 
claim  of  the  slaveholder,  as  presented  by  Mr.  Lincoln.  It  is 
remembered  that  he  made  a  very  poor  plea,  and  exercised  a 
good  deal  of  research  in  presenting  the  authorities  for  and 
against,  and  that  all  his  sympathies  were  on  the  side  of  the 
slaves,  but  such  a  inan  as  Mr.  Lincoln  would  never  have  con- 
sented to  act  on  this  case  if  he  had  not  believed  that  slaves 
were  recognized  as  property  by  the  Constitution.  It  is  true 
that  in  a  speech  delivered  afterwards,  during  the  famous  Doug- 
las campaign,  he  denied  the  statement  made  by  the  Supreme 
Court  in  the  Dred  Scott  decision,  that  "  the  right  of  property 
in  a  slave  is  distinctly  and  expressly  affirmed  in  the  Constitu- 
tion ; "  but  there  was  to  him,  and  there  is  in  fact,  a  great  dif- 
ference between  a  distinct  and  express  affirmation,  and  a  real 
though  it  may  be  only  a  tacit  recognition  of  property  in  a 
slave.  Slavery  was  to  him  legally  right  and  morally  wrong. 

*"  His  vote  is  recorded  against  the  pretence  that  slaves  were  property 
under  the  Constitution." — Charles  Simmer's  Euloyy  at  Boston,  June  1, 1865. 


He  was  equally  loyal  to  the  Constitution  and  loving  to  his 
kind ;  and  when  the  time  came  which  gave  him  the  privilege 
of  striking  off  the  fetters  of  the  slave,  in  order  to  preserve 
his  country  and  its  Constitution,  he  did  it,  and  counted  the  act 
the  crowning  one  of  his  life. 

Mr.  Lincoln  did  not  bring  his  bill  forward  without  consul- 
tation. Mr.  Seaton,  of  the  National  Intelligencer,  is  under- 
stood to  have  been  most  in  his  confidence ;  and  Mr.  Lincoln 
said,  on  presenting  his  bill  to  the  House,  that  he  was  author- 
ized to  say  that,  of  about  fifteen  of  the  leading  citizens  of  the 
District  to  whom  the  proposition  had  been  submitted,  there 
was  not  one  who  did  not  give  it  his  approval.  A  substitute 
for  the  bill  was  moved,  and  finally  the  whole  subject  was 
given  up,  and  left  to  take  its  place  among  the  unfinished 
business  of  the  Congress.  The  reason  for  this  is  reported  to 
have  been  Mr.  Seaton's  withdrawal  from  the  support  of  the 
plan ;  and  Mr.  Seaton's  withdrawal  from  the  support  of  the 
plan  is  said  to  have  been  owing  to  the  visits  and  expostulations 
of  members  of  Congress  from  the  slave  states.  Mr.  Lincoln 
could  hope  to  do  nothing  without  the  approval  of  the  voters 
of  the  District,  and  to  secure  this  approval  he  must  secure 
the  support  of  the  National  Intelligencer.  That  taken  from 
his  scheme,  he  took  no  further  interest  in  pursuing  it. 

Mr.  Lincoln  had  other  occasions,  during  the  session,  to  re- 
cord his  votes  against  slavery,  in  his  own  moderate  way — al- 
ways moved  by  his  humanity  and  his  love  of  that  which  was 
moi'ally  right,  and  withheld  and  controlled  by  his  obligations 
to  the  Constitution  and  the  law,  as  he  apprehended  those  ob- 

The  fourth  of  March  brought  his  Congressional  career  to  a 
close.  While  he  had  maintained  a  most  respectable  position 
in  the  House,  there  is  no  reason  to  believe  that  he  made  any 
great  impression  upon  legislation,  or  upon  the  mind  of  the 
country.  His  highest  honors  were  to  be  won  in  another  field, 
for  which  his  two  years  in  the  House  were  in  part  a  prepara- 
tion. After  his  return  to  Springfield,  he  found  his  practice 
dissipated.  He  saw  that  he  should  be  obliged  to  begin  again. 


Business,  for  the  time,  had  taken  new  channels,  as  it  never 
fails  to  do  in  like  cases.  The  charms  of  the  old  life  in  Wash- 
ington came  back  to  him,  and  he  was  ready  to  take  an  office. 
He  had  a  fancy  that  he  would  like  to  be  Commissioner  of  the 
General  Land  Office,  and  Mr.  Defrees,  now  the  superintendent 
of  public  printing  at  Washington,  and  then  the  editor  of  the 
Indiana  State  Journal,  wrote  an  extended  article,  urging  his 
appointment,  and  published  it  in  that  newspaper.  The  effort 
miscarried,  very  much  to  Mr.  Lincoln's  and  the  country's  ad- 
vantage ;  and  Mr.  Butterfield  of  Illinois  secured  the  coveted 
place.  The  unsuccessful  application  for  this  appointment  was 
subsequently  a  theme  of  much  merriment  between  Mr.  Lin- 
coln and  his  friends. 


ON  returning  to  his  home,  Mr.  Lincoln  entered  upon  the 
duties  of  his  profession,  and  devoted  himself  to  them  through 
a  series  of  years,  less  disturbed  by  diversions  into  state  and 
national  politics  than  he  had  been  during  any  previous  period 
of  his  business  life.  It  was  to  him  a  time  of  rest,  of  reading, 
of  social  happiness  and  of  professional  prosperity.  He  was 
already  a  father,  and  took  an  almost  unbounded  pleasure  in 
his  children.*  Their  sweet  young  natures  were  to  him  a 
perpetual  source  of  delight.  He  was  never  impatient  with 
their  petulance  and  restlessness,  loved  always  to  be  with  them, 
and  took  them  into  his  heart  with  a  fondness  which  was  un- 
speakable. It  was  a  fondness  so  tender  and  profound  as  to 
blind  him  to  their  imperfections,  and  to  expel  from  him  every 
particle  of  sternness  in  his  management  of  them.  It  must  be 
said  that  he  had  very  little  of  what  is  called  parental  govern- 
ment. The  most  that  he  could  say  to  any  little  rebel  in  his 
household  was,  "  you  break  my  heart,  when  you  act  like  this ; " 
and  the  loving  eyes  and  affectionate  voice  and  sincere  expres- 

*Mr.  Lincoln  had  four  children,  all  sons,  viz:  Robert  Todd,  Edwards, 
who  died  in  infancy,  William,  who  died  in  Washington  during  Mr.  Lin- 
coln's presidency,  and  Thomas.  The  oldest  and  youngest  survive.  The 
latter  became  the  pet  of  the  White  House,  and  is  known  to  the  country 
as  "  Tad."  This  nickname  was  conferred  by  his  father  who,  while 
Thomas  was  an  infant  in  arms,  and  without  a  name,  playfully  called 
him  "  Tadpole."  This  was  abbreviated  to  the  pet  name  which  he  will 
probably  never  outlive. 

.Engraved  expressly  for  Holland's  "Life   of  Lincoln." 


sion  of  pain  were  usually  enough  to  bring  the  culprit  to  his 
senses  and  his  obedience.  A  young  man  bred  in  Springfield 
speaks  of  a  vision  that  has  clung  to  his  memory  very  vividly, 
of  Mr.  Lincoln  as  he  appeared  in  those  days.  His  way  to 
school  led  by  the  lawyer's  door.  On  almost  any  fair  summer 
morning,  he  could  find  Mr.  Lincoln  on  the  sidewalk,  in  front 
of  his  house,  drawing  a  child  backward  and  forward,  in  a 
child's  gig.  Without  hat  or  coat,  and  wearing  a  pair  of  rough 
shoes,  his  hands  behind  him  holding  to  the  tongue  of  the  gig, 
and  his  tall  form  bent  forward  to  accommodate  himself  to  the 
service,  he  paced  up  and  down  the  walk,  forgetful  of  every- 
thing around  him,  and  intent  only  on  some  subject  that  ab- 
sorbed his  mind.  The  young  man  says  he  remembers  won- 
dering, in  his  boyish  way,  how  so  rough  and  plain  a  man 
should  happen  to  live  in  so  respectable  a  house. 

The  habit  of  mental  absorption — absent  mindedness,  as  it  is 
called — was  common  with  him  always,  but  particularly  during 
the  formative  periods  of  his  life.  The  New  Salem  people,  it 
will  be  remembered,  thought  him  crazy,  because  he  passed  his 
best  friends  in  the  street  without  seeing  them.  At  the  table, 
in  his  own  family,  he  often  sat  down  without  knowing  or  real- 
izing where  he  was,  and  ate  his  food  mechanically.  "When 
he  "came  to  himself,"  it  was  a  trick  with  him  to  break  the 
silence  by  the  quotation  of  some  verse  of  poetry  from  a  favor- 
ite author.  It  relieved  the  awkwardness  of  "  the  situation," 
served  as  a  blind  to  the  thoughts  which  had  possessed  him, 
and  started  conversation  in  a  channel  that  led  as  far  as  possi- 
ble from  the  subject  that  he  had  set  aside. 

Mr.  Lincoln's  lack  of  early  advantages  and  the  limited 
character  of  his  education  were  constant  subjects  of  regret 
with  him.  His  intercourse  with  members  of  Congress  and 
with  the  cultivated  society  of  Washington  had,  without  doubt, 
made  him  feel  his  deficiencies  more  keenly  than  ever  before. 
There  is  no  doubt  that  his  successes  were  a  constant  surprise 
to  him.  He  felt  that  his  acquisitions  were  very  humble,  and 
that  the  estimate  which  the  public  placed  upon  him  was,  in 
some  respects,  a  blind  and  mistaken  one.  It  was  at  this  period 


that  he  undertook  to  improve  himself  somewhat  by  attention 
to  mathematics,  and  actually  mastered  the  first  six  books  of 
Euclid.  In  speaking  of  this  new  acquisition  to  a  friend,  he 
said  that,  in  debates,  he  had  frequently  heard  the  word  "  dem- 
onstration" used,  and  he  determined  to  ascertain  for  himself 
what  it  meant.  After  his  mastery  of  geometry,  he  had  no 
further  uncertainty  on  the  subject. 

Allusion  has  been  made  to  Mr.  Lincoln's  mechanical  genius. 


That  he  had  enough  of  this  to  make  him  a  good  mechanic, 
there  is  no  doubt.  With  such  rude  tools  as  were  at  his  com- 
mand he  had  made  cabins  and  flat-boats ;  and  after  his  mind 
had  become  absorbed  in  public  and  professional  affairs  he  often 
recurred  to  his  mechanical  dreams  for  amusement.  One  of  his 
dreams  took  form,  and  he  endeavored  to  make  a  practical 
matter  of  it.  He  had  had  experience  in  the  early  navigation 
of  the  Western  rivers.  One  of  the  most  serious  hinderances 
to  this  navigation  was  low  water,  and  the  lodgment  of  the 
various  craft  on  the  shifting  shoals  and  bars  with  which  these 
rivers  abound.  He  undertook  to  contrive  an  apparatus  which, 
folded  to  the  hull  of  a  boat  like  a  bellows,  might  be  inflated  on 
occasion,  and,  by  its  levity,  lift  it  over  any  obstruction  upon 
which  it  might  rest.  On  this  contrivance,  illustrated  by  a 
model  whittled  out  by  himself,  and  now  preserved  in  the  patent 
office  at  Washington,  he  secured  letters  patent ;  but  it  is  certain 
that  the  navigation  of  the  Western  rivers  was  not  revolution- 
ized by  it. 

Mr.  Lincoln  never  made  his  profession  lucrative  to  himself. 
It  was  very  difficult  for  him  to  charge  a  heavy  fee  to  anybody, 
and  still  more  difficult  for  him  to  charge  his  friends  anything 
at  all  for  professional  services.  To  a  poor  client,  he  was  quite 
as  apt  to  give  money  as  to  take  it  from  him.  He  never  en- 
couraged the  spirit  of  litigation.  Henry  McHenry,  one  of  his 
old  clients,  says  that  he  went  to  Mr.  Lincoln  with  a  case  to  pros- 
ecute, and  that  Mr.  Lincoln  refused  to  have  anything  to  do 
with  it,  because  he  was  not  strictly  in  the  right.  "  You  can 
give  the  other  party  a  great  deal  of  trouble,"  said  the  lawyer, 
"and  perhaps  beat  him,  but  you  had  better  let  the  suit  alone." 


Mr.  Lincoln  had  on  hand  a  case  for  this  same  gentleman  for 
three  years,  and  took  it  through  three  courts  to  the  Supreme 
Court,  and  charged  him  for  his  services  only  seventy-five  dol- 
lars. His  wants  were  not  large.  He  had  no  expensive  vices, 
took  no  delight  in  fine  clothing,  and  had  no  strong  desire  to 
accumulate  money.  Indeed,  after  all  his  years  of  practice, 
which  closed  only  with  his  election  to  the  presidency,  he  had 
accumulated,  as  the  sum  total  of  all  his  gold  and  goods,  only 
the  estimated  value  of  sixteen  thousand  dollars. 

Some  incidents  illustrating  his  practice,  and  the  motives 
which  controlled  him  in  it,  may  with  propriety  be  stated  here, 
although  they  are  not  all  of  them  associated  with  this  period 
of  his  life.  An  old  woman  of  seventy-five  years,  the  widow 
of  a  revolutionary  pensioner,  came  tottering  into  his  office  one 
day,  and,  taking  a  seat,  told  him  that  a  certain  pension  agent 
had  charged  her  the  exorbitant  fee  of  two  hundred  dollars  for 
collecting  her  claim.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  satisfied  by  her  repre- 
sentations that  she  had  been  swindled,  and  finding  that  she 
was  not  a  resident  of  the  town,  and  that  she  was  poor,  gave 
her  money,  and  set  about  the  work  of  procuring  restitution. 
He  immediately  entered  suit  against  the  agent  to  recover  a 
portion  of  his  ill-gotten  money.  The  suit  was  entirely  suc- 
cessful, and  Mr.  Lincoln's  address  to  the  jury  before  which 
the  case  was  tried  is  remembered  to  have  been  peculiarly 
touching  in  its  allusions  to  the  poverty  of  the  widow,  and  the 
patriotism  of  the  husband  she  had  sacrificed  to  secure  the 
nation's  independence.  He  had  the  gratification  of  paying 
back  to  her  a  hundred  dollars,  and  sending  her  home  rejoicing. 

One  afternoon  an  old  negro  woman  came  into  the  office 
of  Lincoln  &  Herndon,*  and  told  the  story  of  her  trouble, 
to  which  both  lawyers  listened.  It  appeared  that  she  and 
her  offspring  were  born  slares  in  Kentucky,  and  that  her 
owner,  one  Hinkle,  had  brought  the  whole  family  into  Illinois, 
and  given  them  their  freedom.  Her  son  had  gone  down  the 
Mississippi  as  a  waiter  or  deck  hand,  on  a  steamboat.  Arriv- 

*  William  II.  Herndon,  who  became  Mr.  Lincoln's  partner  after  he 
dissolved  his  association  with  Judge  Logan. 


ing  at  New  Orleans,  he  had  imprudently  gone  ashore,  and 
had  been  snatched  up  by  the  police,  in  accordance  with  the 
law  then  in  force  concerning  free  negroes  from  other  states, 
and  thrown  into  confinement.  Subsequently,  he  was  brought 
out  and  tried.  Of  course  he  was  fined,  and,  the  boat  having 
left,  he  was  sold,  or  was  in  immediate  danger  of  beino-  sold, 

77  O  O  » 

to  pay  his  fine  and  the  expenses.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  very 
much  moved,  and  requested  Mr.  Herndon  to  go  over  to  the 
State  House,  and  inquire  of  Governor  Bissell  if  there  was 
not  something  that  he  could  do  to  obtain  possession  of  the 
negro.  Mr.  Herndon  made  the  inquiry,  and  returned  with 
the  report  that  the  Governor  regretted  to  say  that  he  had  no 
legal  or  constitutional  right  to  do  anything  in  the  premises. 
Mr.  Lincoln  rose  to  his  feet  in  great  excitement,  and  exclaimed, 
"  By  the  Almighty,  I  '11  have  that  negro  back  soon,  or  I  '11 
have  a  twenty  years'  agitation  in  Illinois,  until  the  Governor 
does  have  a  legal  and  constitutional  right  to  do  something  in 
the  premises."  He  was  saved  from  the  latter  alternative — at 
least  in  the  direct  form  which  he  proposed.  The  lawyers  sent 
money  to  a  New  Orleans  correspondent — money  of  their 
own — who  procured  the  negro,  and  returned  him  to  his  mother. 
Mr.  Lincoln's  early  athletic  struggle  with  Jack  Armstrong, 
the  representative  man  of  the  "  Clary's  Grove  Boys,"  will  be 
remembered.  From  the  moment  of  this  struggle,  which  Jack 
agreed  to  call  "  a  drawn  battle,"  in  consequence  of  his  own 
foul  play,  they  became  strong  friends.  Jack  would  fight  for 
Mr.  Lincoln  at  any  time,  and  would  never  hear  him  spoken 
against.  Indeed,  there  were  times  when  young  Lincoln  made 
Jack's  cabin  his  home,  and  here  Mrs.  Armstrong,  a  most 
womanly  person,  learned  to  respect  the  rising  man.  There 
was  no  service  to  which  she  did  not  make  her  guest  abund- 
antly welcome,  and  he  never  ceased  to  feel  the  tenderest  grat- 
itude for  her  kindness.  At  length,  her  husband  died,  and  she 
became  dependent  upon  her  sons.  The  oldest  of  these,  while 
in  attendance  upon  a  camp-meeting,  found  himself  involved  in 
a  melee,  which  resulted  in  the  death  of  a  young  man ;  and 
young  Armstrong  was  charged  by  one  of  his  associates  with 


striking  the  fatal  blow.  He  was  arrested,  examined,  and  im- 
prisoned to  await  his  trial.  The  public  mind  was  in  a  blaze 
of  excitement,  and  interested  parties  fed  the  flame.  Mr.  Lin- 
coln knew  nothing  of  the  merits  of  this  case,  that  is  certain. 

O  7 

He  only  knew  that  his  old  friend  Mrs.  Armstrong  was  in  sore 
trouble ;  and  he  sat  down  at  once,  and  volunteered  by  letter 
to  defend  her  son.  His  first  act  was  to  procure  the  postpone- 
ment and  a  change  of  the  place  of  the  trial.  There  was  too 
much  fever  in  the  minds  of  the  immediate  public  to  permit  of 
fair  treatment.  When  the  trial  came  on,  the  case  looked  very 
hopeless  to  all  but  Mr.  Lincoln,  who  had  assured  himself  that 
the  young  man  was  not  guilty.  The  evidence  on  behalf  of 
the  state  being  all  in,  and  looking  like  a  solid  and  consistent 
mass  of  testimony  against  the  prisoner,  Mr.  Lincoln  undertook 
the  task  of  analyzing  and  destroying  it,  which  he  did  in  a 
manner  that  surprised  every  one.  The  principal  witness  test- 
ified that  "  by  the  aid  of  the  brightly  shining  moon,  he  saw 
the  prisoner  inflict  the  death  blow  with  a  slung  shot."  Mr. 
Lincoln  proved  by  the  almanac  that  there  no  moon  shining 
at  the  time.  The  mass  of  testimony  against  the  prisoner 
melted  away,  until  "not  guilty"  was  the  verdict  of  every  man 
present  in  the  crowded  court-room.  There  is,  of  course,  no 
record  of  the  plea  made  on  this  occasion,  but  it  is  remembered 
as  one  in  which  Mr.  Lincoln  made  an  appeal  to  the  sympathies 
of  the  jury  which  quite  surpassed  his  usual  efforts  of  the  kind, 
and  melted  all  to  tears.  The  jury  were  out  but  half  an  hour, 
when  they  returned  with  their  verdict  of  "  not  guilty."  The 
widow  fainted  in  the  arms  of  her  son,  who  divided  his  atten- 
tion between  his  services  to  her  and  his  thanks  to  his  deliverer. 
And  thus  the  kind  woman  who  cared  for  the  poor  young  man, 
and  showed  herself  a  mother  to  him  in  his  need,  received  the 
life  of  a  son,  saved  from  a  cruel  conspiracy,  as  her  reward, 
from  the  hand  of  her  grateful  beneficiary. 

The  lawyers  of  Springfield,    particularly  those  who  had 

political  aspirations,  were  afraid  to  undertake  the  defense  of 

any  one  who  had  been  engaged  in  helping  off  fugitive  slaves. 

It  was  a  very  unpopular  business  in  those  days  and  in  that  lo- 



cality;  and  few  felt  that  they  could  afford  to  engage  in  it. 
One  who  needed  such  aid  went  to  Edward  D.  Baker,  and 
was  refused  defense  distinctly  and  frankly,  on  the  ground 
that,  as  a  political  man,  he  c.ould  not  afford  it.  The  man  ap- 
plied to  an  ardent  anti-slavery  friend  for  advice.  He  spoke 
of  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  said,  "  He  's  not  afraid  of  an  unpopular 
case.  When  I  go  for  a  lawyer  to  defend  an  arrested  fugitive 
slave,  other  lawyers  will  refuse  me,  but  if  Mr.  Lincoln  is  at 
home,  he  will  always  take  my  case." 

A  sheep-grower  sold  a  number  of  sheep  at  a  stipulated  av- 
erage price.  When  he  delivered  the  animals,  he  delivered 
many  lambs,  or  sheep  too  young  to  come  fairly  within  the  terms 
of  the  contract.  He  was  sued  for  damages  by  the  injured 
party,  and  Mr.  Lincoln  was  his  attorney.  At  the  trial,  the 
facts  as  to  the  character  of  the  sheep  delivered  were  proved, 
and  several  witnesses  testified  as  to  the  usage  by  which  all 
under  a  certain  age  were  regarded  as  lambs,  and  of  inferior 
value.  Mr.  Lincoln,  on  comprehending  the  facts,  at  once 
changed  his  line  of  effort,  and  confined  himself  to  ascertaining 
the  real  number  of  inferior  sheep  delivered.  On  addressing 
the  jury,  he  said  that  from  the  facts  proved  they  must  give 
a  verdict  against  his  client,  and  he  only  asked  their  scrutiny 
as  to  the  actual  damage  suffered. 

In  another  case,  Mr.  Lincoln  was  conducting  a  suit  against 
a  railroad  company.  Judgment  having  been  given  in  his  fa- 
vor, and  the  court  being  about  to  allow  the  amount  claimed 
by  him,  deducting  a  proved  and  allowed  offset,  he  rose  and 
stated  that  his  opponents  had  not  proved  all  that  was  justly 
due  them  in  offset ;  and  proceeded  to  state  and  allow  a  further 
sum  against  his  client,  which  the  court  allowed  in  its  judg- 
ment. His  desire  for  the  establishment  of  exact  justice  always 
overcame  his  own  selfish  love  of  victory,  as  well  as  his  partial- 
ity for  his  clients'  feelings  and  interests. 

These  incidents  sufficiently  illustrate  the  humane  feelings  and 
thorough  honesty  which  Mr.  Lincoln  carried  into  the  practice 
of  his  profession,  and,  as  allusion  has  already  been  made  to 
the  high  estimate  placed  by  the  people  upon  his  ability  as  a 


lawyer,  it  will  be  proper  to  record  here  the  high  opinion  of  his 
professional  merits  entertained  by  the  most  ftninent  represen- 
tatives of  the  bar  of  Illinois.  His  death  in  1865  was,  in  ac- 
cordance with  usage,  made  the  subject  of  notice  by  the  various 
courts  of  the  state.  The  Supreme  Court  in  session  at  Ottawa, 
received  a  series  of  resolutions  from  the  bar,  which  were 
placed  upon  its  records.  Ex-Judge  Caton,  in  presenting  them, 
said,  "  He  (Mr.  Lincoln)  understood  the  relations  of  things, 
and  hence  his  deductions  were  rarely  wrong,  from  any  given 
state  of  facts.  So  he  applied  the  principles  of  law  to  the 
transactions  of  men  with  great  clearness  and  precision.  He 
was  a  close  reasoner.  He  reasoned  by  analogy,  and  enforced 
his  views  by  apt  illustration.  His  mode  of  speaking  was  gen- 
erally of  a  plain  and  unimpassioned  character,  and  yet,  he  was 
the  author  of  some  of  the  most  beautiful  and  eloquent  passages 
in  our  language,  which,  if  collected,  would  form  a  valuable 
contribution  to  American  literature.  The  most  punctilious 
honor  ever  marked  his  professional  and  private  life." 

Judge  Breese,  in  responding  to  the  resolutions  and  the  re- 
marks of  Judge  Caton,  was  still  more  outspoken  in  his  high 
opinion  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  as  a  lawyer.  "  For  my  single  self," 
he  said,  "  I  have  for  a  quarter  of  a  century  regarded  Mr. 
Lincoln  as  the  finest  lawyer  I  ever  knew,  and  of  a  professional 
bearing  so  high-toned  and  honorable  as  justly,  and  without 
derogating  from  the  claims  of  others,  entitling  him  to  be  pre- 
sented to  the  profession  as  a  model  well  worthy  of  the  closest 
imitation."  Judge  Thomas  Drummond  of  Chicago,  repre- 
senting the  bar  of  that  city,  said,  "  I  have  no  hesitation  in 
saying  that  he  was  one  of  the  ablest  lawyers  I  have  ever 
known."  In  addition,  he  said,  "  no  intelligent  man  who  ever 
watched  Mr.  Lincoln  through  a  hard-contested  case  at  the 
bar,  questioned  his  great  ability."  Judge  Drummond's  pic- 
ture of  Mr.  Lincoln  at  the  bar,  and  his  mode  of  speech  and 

action  is  so  graphic  and  so  just  that  it  deserves  to  be  quoted : 


"  With  a  voice  by  no  means  pleasant,  and,  indeed,  when  excited,  in  its 
shrill  tones,  sometimes  almost  disagreeable ;  without  any  of  the  personal 
graces  of  the  orator;  without  much  in  the  outward  man  indicating  supe- 


riority  of  intellect;  without  great  quickness  of  perception — still,  his  mind 
was  so  vigorous,  Incomprehension  so  exact  and  clear,  and  his  judgment 
so  sure,  that  he  easily  mastered  the  intricacies  of  his  profession,  and 
became  one  of  the  ablest  reasoners  and  most  impressive  speakers  at  our 
bar.  With  a  probity  of  character  known  of  all,  with  an  intuitive  insight 
into  the  human  heart,  with  a  clearness  of  statement  which  was  itself  an 
argument,  with  uncommon  power  and  felicity  of  illustration, — often,  it 
is  true,  of  a  plain  and  homely  kind, — and  with  that  sincerity  and  earn- 
estness of  manner  which  carried  conviction,  he  was,  perhaps,  one  of  the 
most  successful  jury  lawyers  we  have  ever  had  in  the  state.  He  always 
tried  a  case  fairly  and  honestly.  lie  never  intentionally  misrepresented 
the  evidence  of  a  Avitness  or  the  argument  of  an  opponent.  He  met 
both  squarely,  and,  if  he  could  not  explain  the  one  or  answer  the  other, 
substantially  admitted  it.  He  never  misstated  the  law  according  to  his 
own  intelligent  view  of  it." 

These  tributes  to  the  professional  excellence  of  Mr.  Lincoln, 
by  those  best  qualified  to  judge  it,  is  all  the  more  significant 
from  the  fact  that  it  was  rendered  by  those  who,  throughout 
his  whole  career,  were  opposed  to  him  politically — by  demo- 
crats and  conservatives.  Judge  David  Davis,  of  Bloomington, 
Illinois,  a  strong  personal  friend  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  in  responding 
to  resolutions  presented  by  the  bar  of  Indianapolis,  said  that 
"in  all  the  elements  that  constitute  the  great  lawyer,  he 
(Mr.  Lincoln)  had  few  equals.  He  was  great  both  at  Nisi 
Prius  and  before  an  appellate  tribunal.  He  seized  the  strong 
points  of  a  case,  and  presented  them  with  clearness  and  great 
compactness.  A  vein  of  humor  never  deserted  him,  and  he 
was  always  able  to  chain  the  attention  of  court  and  jury  when 
the  cause  was  the  most  uninteresting,  by  the  appropriateness 
of  his  anecdotes." 

It  was  during  this  period  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  life  that  he  was 
called  upon  to  pronounce  a  eulogy  upon  Henry  Clay.  The 
death  of  this  eminent  statesman  occurred  in  1852,  and  the 
citizens  of  Springfield  thought  of  no  man  so  competent  to  do 
his  memory  justice  as  he  who  had  through  so  many  years 
been  devoted  to  his  interests  and  his  political  principles.  The 
eulogy  was  pronounced  in  the  State  House,  and  was  listened 
to  by  a  large  audience.  The  discourse,  as  it  was  printed  in 
the  city  newspapers  of  the  day,  was  by  no  means  a  remarka- 


ble  one.  It  is  remembered  as  a  very  dull  one  at  its  delivery, 
and  was  so  regarded  by  Mr.  Lincoln  himself,  who  complained 
that  he  lacked  the  imagination  necessary  for  a  performance  of 
that  character.  It  is  possible  that  the  effect  upon  his  mind 
of  the  old  visit  to  Ashland  was  not  entirely  obliterated ;  for 
Mr.  Lincoln  was  quite  accustomed  to  find  expression  for  any 
admiration  that  was  really  within  him.  The  closing  words  of 
the  eulogy,  though  hortatory  in  form,  were  prophetic  in  fact, 
and,  in  the  light  of  subsequent  events,  have  a  touching  in- 
terest. "  Such  a  man,"  said  he,  "  the  times  have  demanded, 
and  such  in  the  Providence  of  God  was  given  us.  But  he  is 
gone.  Let  us  strive  to  deserve,  as  far  as  mortals  may,  the 
continued  care  of  Divine  Providence,  trusting  that  in  future 
national  emergencies  he  will  not  fail  to  provide  us  the  instru- 
ments of  safety  and  security."  That  Divine  Providence 
which  he  so  confidently  trusted  then,  trusted  him  as  the  instru- 
ment for  executing  its  own  designs,  in  the  greatest  of  national 

It  is  not  to  be  supposed  that  during  these  years  of  quiet  pro- 
fessional life  Mr.  Lincoln  was  entirely  indifferent  to  the  course 
of  political  affairs.  Great  national  events  were  in  progress, 
which  must  have  impressed  him  profoundly.  The  slave  states, 
conscious  that  power  was  departing  from  them,  were  desperate 
in  their  efforts  and  fruitful  in  their  expedients  to  retain  it. 
On  the  9th  of  September,  1850,  the  free  state  of  California 
was  admitted  to  the  Union.  There  was  a  double  bitterness 
in  this  measure  to  those  interested  in  the  perpetuation  of  the 
influence  of  slavery  in  national  affairs.  The  state  was  formed 
from  territory  on  which  the  South  had  hoped  to  extend  the 
area  of  their  institution — which  had  been  won  from  Mexico 
for  that  special  purpose ;  and  there  was  no  slave  state  in  read- 
iness to  be  admitted  with  it,  in  accordance  with  southern  policy 
and  congressional  usage.  As  an  offset  to  this  accession  to  the 
power  of  the  free  states,  a  series  of  concessions  were  exacted 
of  them  wrhich  excited  great  discontent  among  the  people. 
The  compromise  measures  of  1850,  as  they  were  called,  did 
not  satisfy  either  section.  The  South  did  not  see  in  them  the 


security  they  desired,  and  the  North  felt  itself  wronged  and 
humiliated  by  them.  Yet  there  was  among  the  people  of  both 
sections  a  strong  desire  for  peace.  They  had  become  weary 
with  agitation,  and  readily  fell  in  with  the  action  of  the  two 
national  com'entions,  which,  in  1852,  accepted  these  measures 
as  a  final  settlement  of  the  points  of  difference  between  the 
two  sections  of  the  country.  It  is  easy,  in  looking  back,  to 
see  how  wretched  a  basis  these  measures  furnished  for  peace 
between  freedom  and  slavery ;  but  the  best  men  and  the  most 
patriotic  men  of  the  time  found  nothing  better. 

How  far  Mr.  Lincoln  shared  in  the  desire  that  these  meas- 
ures should  be  the  final  settlement  of  the  slavery  question  in 
the  country,  or  believed  it  possible  that  they  could  be,  is  not 
known.  Although  he  consented  to  stand  on  the  Scott  elect- 
oral ticket  in  1852,  he  does  not  seem  to  have  gone  into  the 
canvass  with  his  characteristic  earnestness.  His  party  had 
committed  him,  in  advance,  to  silence  on  the  subject  of  slavery ; 
and  it  was  quite  possible  that  he  was  willing  to  see  how  much 
could  be  done  towards  stifling  what  seemed  to  be  a  fruitless 
agitation.  He  made  but  few  speeches,  and  these  few  made 
little  impression.  The  defeat  of  General  Scott  and  the  election 
of  General  Pierce  was  in  accordance  with  the  popular  expect- 
ation. Mr.  Lincoln  had  not  been  diverted  from  his  profes- 
sional pursuits  by  the  campaign,  and  for  two  years  thereafter 
he  found  nothing  in  politics  to  call  him  from  his  business. 

In  1854,  a  new  political  era  opened.  Events  occurred  of 
immeasurable  influence  upon  the  country;  and  an  agitation 
of  the  slavery  question  was  begun  Avhich  was  destined  not  to 
cease  until  slavery  itself  should  be  destroyed.  Disregarding 
the  pledges  of  peace  and  harmony,  the  party  in  the  interest 
of  slavery  effected  in  Congress  the  abrogation  of  the  Missouri 
Compromise  of  1820 — a  compromise  which  was  intended  to 
shut  slavery  forever  out  of  the  north-west ;  and  a  bill  organ- 
izing the  territories  of  Kansas  and  Nebraska  was  enacted, 
which  left  them  free  to  choose  whether  they  would  have 
slavery  as  an  institution  or  not.  The  intention,  without 
doubt,  was  to  force  slavery  upon  those  territories — to  make 


it  impossible  for  them  ever  to  become  free  states — as  the  sub- 
sequent exhibitions  of  "border  ruffianism"  in  Kansas  suffi- 
ciently testified.  This  great  political  iniquity  aroused  Mr. 
Lincoln  as  he  had  never  before  been  aroused.  It  was  at  this 
time  that  he  fully  comprehended  the  fact  that  there  was  to  be 
no  peace  on  the  slavery  question  until  either  freedom  or  slavery 
should  triumph.  He  knew  slavery  to  be  wrong.  He  had  al- 
ways known  and  felt  it  to  be  so.  He  knew  that  he  regarded 
the  institution  as  the  fathers  of  the  republic  had  regarded  it ; 
but  a  new  doctrine  had  been  put  forward.  Slavery  was  right. 
Slavery  was  entitled  to  equal  consideration  with  freedom. 
Slavery  claimed  the  privilege  of  going  wherever,  into  the 
national  domain,  it  might  choose  to  go.  Slavery  claimed  na- 
tional protection  everywhere.  Instead  of  remaining  content- 
edly within  the  territory  it  occupied  under  the  protection  of 
the  Constitution,  it  sought  to  extend  itself  indefinitely — to 
nationalize  itself. 

Judge  Douglas  of  Illinois  was  the  responsible  author  of 
what  was  called  the  Kansas-Nebraska  bill — a  bill  which  he 
based  upon  what  he  was  pleased  to  denominate  "  popular  sover- 
eignty"— the  right  of  the  people  of  a  territory  to  choose  their 
own  institutions ;  and  between  Judge  Douglas  and  Mr.  Lin- 
coln was  destined  to  be  fought  "the  battle  of  the  giants"  on 
the  questions  that  grew  out  of  this  great  political  crime. 
Mr.  Lincoln's  indignation  was  an  index  to  the  popular  feeling 
ah1  over  the  North.  The  men  who,  in  good  faith,  had  acqui- 
esced in  the  compromise  measures,  though  with  great  reluctance 
and  only  for  the  sake  of  peace — who  had  compelled  themselves 
to  silence  by  biting  their  lips — who  had  been  forced  into  si- 
lence by  their  love  of  the  Union  whose  existence  the  slave 
power  had  threatened — saw  that  they  had  been  over-reached 
and  foully  wronged. 

Mr.  Douglas,  on  his  return  to  his  constituents,  was  met  by 
a  storm  of  indignation,  so  that  when  he  first  undertook  to 
speak  in  vindication  of  himself  he  was  not  permitted  to  do  so. 
He  found  that  he  had  committed  a  great  political  blunder, 
even  if  he  failed  to  comprehend  the  fact  that  he  had  been 


guilty  of  a  criminal  breach  of  faith.  The  first  exhibitions  of 
popular  rage  naturally  passed  away,  so  that  the  city  which 
refused  to  hear  him  speak,  now  honors  his  dust  as  that  of  a 
great  and  powerful  and  famous  man ;  but  the  city  and  the  state 
have  discarded  his  political  principles ;  and  the  party  which 
once  honored  him  with  so  much  confidence,  remembers  with 
regret — possibly  with  bitterness — that  he  was  mainly  responsi- 
ble for  its  overthrow.  Mr.  Douglas,  without  doubt,  foresaw 
what  was  coming,  as  the  result  of  his  political  misdeeds,  but 
he  tried  to  avert  the  popular  judgment.  He  spoke  in  various 
places  in  the  state,  but  with  little  effect.  Congress  had  ad- 
journed early  in  August.  His  attempt  to  speak  in  Chicago 
was  made  on  the  first  of  September,  and  early  in  October,  on 
the  occasion  of  the  State  Fair,  he  found  himself  at  Springfield. 
The  Fair  had  brought  together  a  large  number  of  represen- 
tative men,  from  all  parts  of  the  state,  many  of  whom  had 
come  for  the  purposes  of  political  reunion  and  consultation. 
There  was  a  great  deal  of  political  speaking,  but  the  chief  in- 
terest of  the  occasion  centered  in  a  discussion  between  Mr. 
Lincoln  and  Mr.  Douglas.  It  had  been  many  years  since 
these  two  men  had  found  themselves  pitted  against  each  other 
in  debate,  and  during  nearly  all  these  years,  Mr.  Douglas  had 
been  in  public  life.  He  was  a  man  known  to  the  whole  nation. 
He  was  the  recognized  leader  of  his  party  in  Illinois,  notwith- 
standing the  fact  that  his  course  had  driven  many  from  his 
support.  His  experience  in  debate,  his  easy  audacity  and 
assurance,  his  great  ability,  his  strong  will,  his  unconquerable 
ambition,  and  his  untiring  industry,  made  him  a  most  formid- 
able antagonist.  To  say  that  his  unlimited  self-confidence, 
which  not  unfreque-atly  made  him  arrogant  and  overbearing — 
at  least,  in  appearance — assisted  him  in  the  work  which  he  had 
before  him,  would  be  to  insult  the  independent  common  sense 
of  the  people  he  addressed.  Mr.  Douglas  entered  into  an 
exposition  and  defense  of  his  principles  and  policy  with  the 
bearing  of  a  man  who  had  already  conquered.  His  long  and 
uninterrupted  success  had  made  him  restive  under  inquisition, 
impatient  of  dispute,  and  defiant  of  opposition. 


On  the  day  following  the  speech  of  Mr.  Douglas,  Mr.  .Lin- 
coln, who  had  listened  to  him,  replied,  and  Mr.  Douglas  \vas 
among  his  auditors.  The  speech  delivered  on  this  occasion 
was  one  of  the  most  powerful  and  eloquent  efforts  of  his  life. 
Mr.  Lincoln  began  by  saying  that  he  wished  to  present  noth- 
ing to  the  people  but  the  truth,  to  which  they  were  certainly 
entitled,  and  that,  if  Judge  Douglas  should  detect  him  in 
saying  anything  untrue,  he  (Judge  Douglas)  would  correct 
him.  Mr.  Douglas  took  license  from  this  remark  to  interrupt 
him  constantly,  Avith  the  most  unimportant  questions,  and  in 
such  a  way  as  to  show  Mr.  Lincoln  that  his  only  motive  was 
to  break  him  down.  Finally,  the  speaker  lost  his  patience, 
and  said,  "  Gentlemen,  I  cannot  afford  to  spend  my  time  in 
quibbles.  I  take  the  responsibility  of  asserting  the  truth 
myself,  relieving  Judge  Douglas  from  the  necessity  of  his 
impertinent  corrections."  From  this  point,  he  was  permitted 
to  proceed  uninterruptedly,  until  a  speech  occupying  three 
hours  and  ten  minutes  was  concluded.  No  report  of  this 
speech  was  made,  and  no  judgment  can  be  formed  of  it,  ex- 
cept such  as  can  be  made  up  from  the  cotemporary  newspaper 
accounts,  the  recollections  of  those  who  heard  it,  and  its  effect 
upon  the  politics  of  the  state.  The  enthusiasm  of  the  party 
press  was  unbounded,  and  was  manifestly  genuine.  The 
Kansas-Nebraska  bill  was  the  subject  of  debate ;  and  his  ex- 
posure of  its  fallacies  and  iniquities  was  declared  to  be  over- 
whelming. Plis  whole  heart  was  in  his  words.  The  Spring- 
field Journal,  in  describing  the  speech  and  the  occasion,  says : 
"  He  quivered  with  feeling  and  emotion.  The  whole  house 
was  as  still  as  death.  He  attacked  the  bill  with  unusual 
warmth  and  energy,  and  all  felt  that  a  man  of  strength  was  its 
enemy,  and  that  he  intended  to  blast  it  if  he  could  by  strong 
and  manly  efforts.  He  was  most  successful;  and  the  house 
approved  the  glorious  triumph  of  truth  by  loud  and  long- 
continued  huzzas.  Women  waved  their  white  handkerchiefs 
in  token  of  woman's  silent  but  heartfelt  consent.  *  *  *  Mr. 
Lincoln  exhibited  Douglas  in  all  the  attitudes  he  could  be 
placed  in  in  a  friendly  debate.  He  exhibited  the  bill  in  all  its 



aspects,  to  show  its  humbuggery  and  falsehoods,  and  when 
thus  torn  to  rags,  cut  into  slips,  held  up  to  the  gaze  of  the 
vast  crowd,  a  kind  of  scorn  was  visible  upon  the  face  of  the 
crowd  and  upon  the  lips  of  the  most  eloquent  speaker."  The 
editor,  in  concluding  his  account,  says:  "At  the  conclusion  of 
the  speech,  every  man  felt  that  it  was  unanswerable — that  no 
human  power  could  overthrow  it,  or  trample  it  under  foot. 
The  long  and  repeated  applause  evinced  the  feelings  of  the 
crowd,  and  gave  token  of  universal  assent  to  Lincoln's  whole 
argument ;  and  every  mind  present  did  homage  to  the  man 
who  took  captive  the  heart,  and  broke  like  a  sun  over  the 

The  accoimt  of  this  speech  in  the  Chicago  Press  and  Trib- 
une was  not  less  enthusiastic  in  its  praise,  than  the  journal 
just  quoted.  After  stating  that,  within  the  limits  of  a  news- 
paper article,  it  would  be  impossible  to  give  an  idea  of  the 
strength  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  argument,  and  that  it  was  by  far 
the  ablest  effort  of  the  campaign,  he  quotes  the  following  pas- 
sage directly  from  the  speech,  as  remarkable  in  its  power 
upon  the  audience :  "  My  distinguished  friend  says  it  is  an 
insult  to  the  emigrants  to  Kansas  and  Nebraska  to  suppose 
they  are  not  able  to  govern  themselves.  We  must  not  slur 
over  an  argument  of  this  kind  because  it  happens  to  tickle  the 
ear.  It  must  be  met  and  answered.  I  admit  that  the  emi- 
grant to  Kansas  and  Nebraska  is  competent  to  govern  himself, 
but  (the  speaker  rising  to  his  full  hight,)  /  deny  his  right  to 
govern  any  other  person  without  that  person's  consent."  That 
touched  the  very  marrow  of  the  matter,  and  revealed  the  whole 
difference  between  him  and  Douglas.  The  crowd  understood 
it.  They  saw  through  the  iniquity  of  "popular  sovereignty," 
and  the  Kansas-Nebraska  bill,  and  the  applause  which  fol- 
lowed showed  their  appreciation  of  the  clearness  and  thorough- 
ness with  which  the  speaker  had  exposed  it. 

When  Mr.  Lincoln  concluded  his  speech,  Mr.  Douglas 
hastily  took  the  stand,  and  said  that  he  had  been  abused, 
"though  in  a  perfectly  courteous  manner."  He  spoke  until 
the  adjournment  of  the  meeting  for  supper,  but  touched  only 


slightly  upon  the  great  questions  which  Mr.  Lincoln  had 
handled  with  so  much  power.  That  he  felt  his  effort  to  be  a 
failure,  is  evident  from  subsequent  events  soon  to  be  recounted. 
Before  closing,  he  insisted  on  his  right  to  resume  his  speech  in 
the  evening,  but  when  evening  came  he  did  not  resume,  and 
did  not  choose  to  resume.  The  speech  was  never  concluded. 

The  next  meeting  between  the  two  party  champions  took 
place  at  Peoria,  though  not  by  pre-arrangement.  Mr.  Lin- 
coln followed  Mr.  Douglas  to  Peoria,  and  challenged  him 
there,  as  he  had  done  at  Springfield.  At  Peoria,  Mr.  Lin- 
coln's triumph  was  even  more  marked  than  at  Springfield, 
for  his  antagonist  had  lost  something  of  his  assurance.  He 
was  a  wounded  and  weakened  man,  indeed.  He  had  become 
conscious  that  he  was  not  invulnerable.  He  had  been  a  wit- 
ness of  Mr.  Lincoln's  power  over  the  people ;  and  it  is  quite 
possible  that  his  faith  in  his  own  position  had  been  shaken. 
It  was  noticed  at  Peoria  that  his  manner  was  much  modified, 
and  that  he  betrayed  a  lack  of  confidence  in  himself,  not  at 
all  usual  with  him.  Here,  as  at  Springfield,  Mr.  Lincoln  oc- 
cupied more  than  three  hours  in  the  delivery  of  his  speech, 
and  it  came  down  upon  Mr.  Douglas  so  crushingly  that  the 
doughty  debater  did  not  even  undertake  to  reply  to  it. 

It  is  to  be  remembered  that  Mr.  Lincoln,  in  his  political 
speeches,  resorted  to  none  of  the  tricks  common  among  what 
are  called  stump  speakers.  He  was  thoroughly  in  earnest  and 
always  closely  argumentative.  If  he  told  stories,  it  was  not 
to  amuse  a  crowd,  but  to  illustrate  a  point.  The  real  questions 
at  issue  engaged  his  entire  attention,  and  he  never  undertook 
to  raise  a  false  issue  or  to  dodge  a  real  one.  Indeed,  he  seemed 
incapable  of  the  tricks  so  often  resorted  to  for  the  discomfiture 
of  an  opponent.  Fortunately,  the  Peoria  speech  was  reported, 
and  we  have  an  opportunity  of  forming  an  intelligent  judg- 
ment of  its  character  and  its  power.  One  passage  will  suffice 
to  illustrate  both.  Mr.  Douglas  had  urged  that  the  people  of 
Illinois  had  no  interest  in  the  question  of  slavery  in  the  terri- 
tories— that  it  concerned  only  the  people  of  the  territories. 
This  was  in  accordance  with  his  own  feeling,  when  he  declared 


that  he  did  not  care  whether  slavery  was  "  voted  up  or  voted 
down"  in  Kansas.  Mr.  Lincoln  opposed  this  on  the  broad 
ground  of  humanity  and  the  terms  of  the  declaration  of  in- 
dependence ;  but  to  bring  the  matter  more  directly  home,  and 
to  show  that  the  people  of  Illinois  had  a  practical  interest  in 
the  question  of  slavery  in  the  territories,  he  said: 

"  By  the  Constitution,  each  state  has  two  senators — each  has  a  num- 
ber of  representatives  in  proportion  to  the  number  of  its  people,  and 
each  has  a  number  of  presidential  electors,  equal  to  the  whole  number 
of  its  representatives  and  senators  together.  But  in  ascertaining  the 
number  of  the  people  for  the  purpose,  five  slaves  are  counted  as  being 
equal  to  three  whites.  The  slaves  do  not  vote ;  they  are  only  counted, 
and  so  used  as  to  swell  the  influence  of  the  white  people's  votes.  The 
practical  effect  of  this  is  more  aptly  shown  by  a  comparison  of  the  states 
of  South  Carolina  and  Maine.  South  Carolina  has  six  representatives 
and  so  has  Maine  ;  South  Carolina  has  eight  presidential  electors  and  so 
has  Maine.  This  is  precise  equality  so  far;  and  of  course  they  are 
equal  in  senators,  each  having  two.  Thus,  in  the  control  of  the  gov- 
ernment, they  are  equals  precisely.  But  how  are  they  in  the  number 
of  their  white  people  ?  Maine  has  581,813,  while  South  Carolina  has 
274,567.  Maine  has  twice  as  many  as  South  Carolina,  and  32,679  over. 
Thus  each  white  man  in  South  Carolina  is  more  than  the  double  of  any 
man  in  Maine.  This  is  all  because  South  Carolina,  besides  her  free 
people,  has  387,984  slaves.  The  South  Carolinian  has  precisely  the 
same  advantage  over  the  white  man  in  every  other  free  state  as  well  as 
in  Maine.  He  is  more  than  the  double  of  any  one  of  us.  The  same 
advantage,  but  not  to  the  same  extent,  is  held  by  all  the  citizens  of  the 
slave  states  over  those  of  the  free ;  and  it  is  an  absolute  truth,  without 
an  exception,  that  there  is  no  voter  in  any  slave  state  but  who  has  more 
legal  power  in  the  government  than  any  voter  in  any  free  state.  There 
is  no  instance  of  exact  equality ;  and  the  disadvantage  is  against  us  the 
whole  chapter  through.  This  principle,  in  the  aggregate,  gives  the  slave 
states  in  the  present  Congress  twenty  additional  representatives — being 
seven  more  than  the  whole  majority  by  -which  they  passed  the  Nebraska 

"  Now  all  this  is  manifestly  unfair ;  yet  I  do  not  mention  it  to  complain 
of  it,  in  so  far  as  it  is  already  settled.  It  is  in  the  Constitution,  and  I 
do  not  for  that  cause,  or  any  other  cause,  propose  to  destroy,  or  alter, 
or  disregard  the  Constitution.  I  stand  to  it  fairly,  fully  and  firmly. 
But  when  I  am  told  that  I  must  leave  it  altogether  to  other  people  to 
say  whether  new  partners  are  to  be  bred  up  and  brought  into  the  firm, 
on  the  same  degrading  terms  against  me,  I  respectfully  demur.  I  insist 


that  whether  I  shall  be  a  whole  man  or  only  the  half  of  one  in  compari- 
son with  others  is  a  question  in  which  I  am  somewhat  concerned ;  and 
one  which  no  other  man  can  have  a  sacred  right  of  deciding  for  me.  If 
1  am  wrong  in  this — if  it  really  be  a  sacred  right  of  self-government  in 
the  irian  who  shall  go  to  Nebraska  to  decide  whether  he  will  be  the  equal 
of  me  or  the  double  of  me,  then,  after  he  shall  have  exercised  that  right, 
and  thereby  shall  have  reduced  me  to  a  still  smaller  fraction  of  a  man 
than  I  already  am,  I  should  like  for  some  .gentleman  deeply  skilled  in 
the  mystery  of  '  sacred  rights,'  to  provide  himself  with  a  microscope, 
and  peep  about  and  find  out  if  he  can  what  has  become  of  my  '  sacred 
rights.'  They  will  surely  be  too  small  for  detection  by  the  naked  eye. 

"  Finally,  I  insist  that  if  there  is  anything  that  it  is  the  duty  of  the 
whole  people  to  never  intrust  to  any  hands  but  their  own,  that  thing  is 
the  preservation  and  perpetuity  of  their  own  liberties  and  institutions. 
And  if  they  shall  think,  as  I  do,  that  the  extension  of  slavery  endangers 
them  more  than  any  or  all  other  causes,  how  recreant  to  themselves  if 
they  submit  the  question,  and  with  it,  the  fate  of  their  country,  to  a 
mere  handful  of  men  bent  only  on  temporary  self-interest!" 

Mr.  Douglas  might  well  excuse  himself  from  any  attempt 
to  answer  this  argument,  or  escape  from  its  inevitable  logic, 
for  it  was  unanswerable. 

It  was  naturally  the  wish  of  Mr.  Lincoln  to  continue  these 
discussions  in  other  parts  of  the  state.  He  felt  that  a  revolu- 
tion of  public  opinion  was  in  progress — that  parties  were 
breaking  up,  and  that  he  had  his  opponent  at  a  disadvantage. 
But  Mr.  Douglas  had  had  enough  for  this  time.  He  wished 
to  withdraAV  his  forces  before  they  were  destroyed.  He  had 
had  a  heavy  skirmish,  and  been  worsted.  He  shrank  from  a 
continuance  of  the  fight.  The  great  and  decisive  battle  was 
to  come. 

At  the  close  of  the  debate,  the  two  combatants  held  a  con- 
ference, the  result  of  which  has  been  variously  reported. 
One  authority*  states  that  Mr.  Douglas  sent  for  Mr.  Lincoln, 
and  told  him  that  if  he  would  speak  no  more  during  the  cam- 
paign, he  (Douglas)  would  go  home  and  remain  silent  during 
the  same  period,  and  that  this  arrangement  was  agreed  upon 
and  its  terms  fulfilled.  That  there  was  a  conference  on  the 
subject  sought  by  Mr.  Douglas,  there  is  no  doubt;  and  there 

*  William  H.  Herndon,  Mr.  Lincoln's  partner. 


is  no  doubt  that  Mr.  Lincoln  promised  not  to  challenge  him 
again  to  debate  during  the  canvass,  but  abundant  evidence  ex- 
ists that  Mr.  Lincoln  did  not  leave  the  field  at  all,  but  spoke 
in  various  parts  of  the  state. 

Owing  very  materially  to  Mr.  Lincoln's  efforts,  a  political 
revolution  swept  the  state.  The  old  stronghold  of  the  demo- 
cratic party  fell  before  the  onslaughts  made  upon  it,  and,  for 
the  first  time  since  the  democratic  party  was  organized,  the 
legislature  of  Illinois  was  in  the  hands  of  the  opposition. 
Politics  were  in  a  transitional,  not  to  say  chaotic  state.  The 
opposition  was  made  up  of  whigs,  Americans,  and  anti-Xe- 
braska  democrats.  Among  the  men  elected  was  Mr.  Lincoln 
himself,  who  had  been  put  in  nomination  while  absent,  by 
his  friends  in  the  county.  As  has  already  been  stated,  he 
resigned  before  taking  his  seat.  His  election  was  effected 
without  consultation  with  him,  and  entirely  against  his  wishes. 

The  excitement  attending  the  election  of  this  legislature  did 
not  die  out  with  the  election,  for  the  new  body  had  the  re- 
sponsibility of  electing  a  United  States  senator.  The  old 
whigs  elected  had  not  relinquished  the  hope  that,  by  some 
means,  their  party,  which  had  in  reality  been  broken  up  by 
the  southern  whigs  in  Congress  going  over  to  the  democrats 
on  the  vote  for  the  repeal  of  the  Missouri  Compromise,  would 
again  be  united,  while  the  anti-Xebraska  democrats  declined 

O  * 

to  go  over  to  the  whigs,  supposing  that,  by  clinging  together,, 
they  could  force  the  regular  democracy  of  the  state  to  come 
upon  their  ground.  Here  were  two  strongly  antagonistic 
interests  that  were  in  some  way  to  be  harmonized,  in  order  to 
beat  the  nominee  of  the  great  body  of  the  democrats  who  still 
acknowledged  the  lead  of  Judge  Douglas.  The  anti-Xe- 
braska democrats  refused  to  go  into  a  nominating  caucus  with 
the  whigs,  and  three  candidates  were  placed  in  the  field.  Mr. 
Lincoln  was  the  nominee  of  the  whigs,  Lyman  Trumbull 
of  the  anti-Xebraska  democrats,  and  General  James  Shields 
of  the  democrats  of  the  Douglas  school.  After  a  number  of 
undecisive  ballots  in  the  legislature,  the  democrats  having 
dropped  their  candidate  and  adopted  Governor  Joel  A.  Mat- 


teson — a  gentleman  who  had  not  committed  himself  to  either 
side  of  the  great  question — it  became  possible  for  the  sup- 
porters of  Mr.  Lincoln  and  Mr.  Trumbull  to  elect  one  of 
those  gentlemen,  by  a  union  of  their  forces.  That  Mr.  Lin- 
coln was  ambitious  for  the  honors  of  this  high  office  there  is 
no  question,  but  he  had  seen  Governor  Matteson  come  within 
three  votes  of  an  election,  and  perceived  that  there  was  actual 
danger  of  his  triumph.  At  this  juncture,  he  begged  his 
friends  to  leave  him,  and  go  for  Mr.  Trumbull.  They  yielded 
to  his  urgent  entreaties,  though  it  is  said  that  strong  men 
among  them  actually  wept  when  they  consented  to  do  so. 
The  consequence  was  the  election  of  Mr.  Trumbull,  to  the 
great  astonishment  of  the  democrats,  who  did  not  believe  it 
possible  for  the  opposition  to  unite.  Their  triumph  was  due 
simply  to  the  magnanimity  of  Mr.  Lincoln  and  his  devotion  to 
principle.  He  had  no  reproaches  for  those  anti-Nebraska 
democrats  who  had  refused  to  go  for  him,  although  his  argu- 
ments had  done  more  than  those  of  any  other  man  to  give  them 
their  power,  and  he  cared  far  more  for  the  triumph  of  political 
truth  and  honor  than  for  his  own  elevation.  Mr.  Lincoln 
never  had  reason  to  regret  his  self-sacrifice,  for,  upon  the 
organization  of  the  republican  party,  all  the  opposition  par- 
ties found  themselves  together,  and  Mr.  Lincoln  became  their 
foremost  man. 


THE  legitimate  fruit  of  the  Kansas-Nebraska  bill  had 
already  begun  to  manifest  itself  in  Kansas.  Emigrants  from 
the  eastern  states  and  from  the  north-west  began  to  pour 
into  the  territory;  and  those  who  had  intended  that  it  should 
become  a  slave  state  saw  that  their  scheme  was  in  danger. 
Mr.  Douglas  may  not  have  cared  whether  slavery  was  "  voted 
up  or  voted  down"  in  Kansas,  but  slaveholders  themselves 
showed  a  strong  preference  for  voting  it  up,  and  not  only  for 
voting  it  up,  but  of  backing  up  their  votes  by  any  requisite 
amount  of  violence.  An  organization  in  Platte  County,  Mis- 
souri, declared  its  readiness,  when  called  upon  by  the  citizens 
of  Kansas,  to  assist  in  removing  any  and  all  emigrants  who  go 
there  under  the  auspices  of  any  of  the  "Emigrant  Aid  Soci- 
eties ; "  which  societies,  by  the  way,  were  supposed  to  be  or- 
ganizations operating  in  the  free  state  interest.  This  was  in 
July,  1854,  the  Kansas-Nebraska  bill  having  been  passed 
during  the  previous  May.  One  B.  F.  Stringfellow  was  the 
secretary  of  the  organization,  and  a  fortnight  later  he  intro- 
duced, at  a  meeting  of  the  society,  resolutions  declaring  in 
favor  of  extending  slavery  into  Kansas.  Almon  H.  Reeder 
was  appointed  Governor,  and  arrived  in  the  territory  during 
the  following  October.  At  two  elections,  held  within  the 


succeeding  six  months,  the  polls  were  entirely  controlled  by 
ruffians  from  the  Missouri  side  of  the  border,  and  those  dis- 
turbances were  fully  inaugurated  which  illustrated  the  des- 
perate desire  of  slavery  to  extend  its  territory  and  its  power, 


the  hypocrisy  of  Mr.  Douglas  and  his  friends  in  the  declara- 
tion that  the  people  of  the  territory  should  be  perfectly  free 
to  choose  and  form  their  institutions,  and  the  shameful  sub- 
serviency of  the  government  at  Washington  to  the  interests 
of  the  barbarous  institution. 

This  much  of  the  history  of  Kansas,  in  order  to  a  perfect 
appreciation  of  a  private  letter  of  Mr.  Lincoln  to  his  Kentucky- 
friend,  Mr.  Speed: 

"  SPRINGFIELD,  August  24, 1855. 

"  DEAR  SPEED  : — You  know  what  a  poor  correspondent  I  am.  Ever 
since  I  received  your  very  agreeable  letter  of  the  twenty-second  of  May, 
I  have  been  intending  to  write  you  in  answer  to  it.  You  suggest  that 
in  political  action  now,  you  and  I  would  differ.  You  know  I  dislike 
slavery,  and  you  fully  admit  the  abstract  wrong  of  it.  So  far,  there  is  no 
cause  of  difference.  But  you  say  that  sooner  than  yield  your  legal  right 
to  the  slave,  especially  at  the  bidding  of  those  who  are  not  themselves 
interested,  you  would  see  the  Union  dissolved.  I  am  not  aware  that 
any  one  is  bidding  you  yield  that  right — very  certainly  I  am  not.  I 
leave  that  matter  entirely  to  yourself.  I  also  acknowledge  your  rights 
and  my  obligations  under  the  Constitution,  in  regard  to  your  slaves.  I 
confess  I  hate  to  see  the  poor  creatures  hunted  down,  and  caught  and 
carried  back  to  their  stripes  and  unrequited  toil;  but  I  bite  my  lip,  and 
keep  quiet.  In  1841,  you  and  I  had  together  a  tedious,  low-water  trip 
on  a  steamboat  from  Louisville  to  St.  Louis.  You  may  remember,  as  I 
well  do,  that  from  Louisville  to  the  mouth  of  the  Ohio,  there  were  on 
board  ten  or  a  dozen  slaves,  shackled  together  with  irons.  That  sight 
was  a  continual  torment  to  me,  and  I  see  something  like  it  every  time 
I  touch  the  Ohio,  or  any  other  slave  border.  It  is  not  fair  for  you  to 
assume  that  I  have  no  interest  in  a  thing  which  has,  and  continually  exer- 
cises, the  power  of  making  me  miserable.  You  ought  rather  to  appre- 
ciate how  much  the  great  body  of  the  people  of  the  North  do  crucify 
their  feelings,  in  order  to  maintain  their  loyalty  to  the  Constitution  and 
the  Union. 

"  I  do  oppose  the  extension  of  slavery,  because  my  judgment  and 
feelings  so  prompt  me ;  and  I  am  under  no  obligations  to  the  contrary. 
If,  for  this,  you  and  I  must  differ,  differ  we  must.  You  say  if  you  were 
President  you  would  send  an  army,  and  hang  the  leaders  of  the  Missouri 
outrages  upon  the  Kansas  elections ;  still,  if  Kansas  fairly  votes  herself 
a  slave  state,  she  must  be  admitted,  or  the  Union  must  be  dissolved. 
But  how  if  she  votes  herself  a  slave  state  unfairly — that  is,  by  the  very 
means  for  which  you  would  hang  men  ?  Must  she  still  be  admitted,  or 


the  Union  dissolved  ?  That  will  be  the  phase  of  the  question  when  it 
first  becomes  a  practical  one.* 

"  In  your  assumption  that  there  may  be  a  fair  decision  of  the  slavery 
question  in  Kansas,  I  plainly  see  you  and  I  would  differ  about  the  Ne- 
braska law.  I  look  upon  that  enactment  not  as  a  law,  but  as  a  violence, 
from  the  beginning.  It  was  conceived  in  violence,  passed  in  violence, 
is  maintained  in  violence,  and  is  being  executed  in  violence.  I  say  it 
was  conceived  in  violence,  because  the  destruction  of  the  Missouri  Com- 
promise undfer  the  Constitution  was  nothing  less  than  violence.  It  was 
passed  in  violence,  because  it  could  not  have  passed  at  all  but  for  the 
votes  of  many  members  in  violent  disregard  of  the  known  will  of  their 
constituents.  It  is  maintained  in  violence,  because  the  elections  since 
clearly  demand  its  repeal,  and  the  demand  is  openly  disregarded. 

"  You  say  men  ought  to  be  hung  for  the  way  they  are  executing  that 
law ;  and  I  say  the  way  it  is  being  executed  is  quite  as  good  as  any  of 
its  antecedents.  It  is  being  executed  in  the  precise  way  which  was  in- 
tended from  the  first,  else,  why  does  no  Nebraska  man  express  aston- 
ishment or  condemnation  V  Poor  Reeder  has  been  the  only  man  who 
has  been  silly  enough  to  believe  that  anything  like  fairness  was  ever 
intended,  and  he  has  been  bravely  undeceived. 

"  That  Kansas  will  form  a  slave  constitution,  and  with  it,  will  ask  to 
be  admitted  into  the  Union,  I  take  to  be  an  already  settled  question, 
and  so  settled  by  the  very  means  you  so  pointedly  condemn.  By  every 
principle  of  law  ever  held  by  any  court,  North  or  South,  every  negro 
taken  to  Kansas  is  free  ;  and  in  utter  disregard  of  this — in  the  spirit  of 
violence  merely — that  beautiful  legislature  gravely  passes  a  law  to  hang 
men  who  shall  venture  to  inform  a  negro  of  his  legal  rights.  This  is 
the  substance  and  real  object  of  the  law.  If,  like  Haman,  they  should 
hang  upon  the  gallows  of  their,  own  building,  I  shall  not  be  among  the 
mourners  for  their  fate. 

"  In  my  humble  sphere,  I  shall  advocate  the  restoration  of  the  Mis- 
souri Compromise  so  long  as  Kansas  remains  a  territory ;  and  when,  by 
all  these  foul  means  it  seeks  to  come  into  the  Union  as  a  slave  state,  I 
shall  oppose  it.  I  am  very  loth,  in  any  case,  to  withhold  my  assent  to 
the  enjoyment  of  property  acquired  or  located  in  good  faith ;  but  I  do 
not  admit  that  good  faith  in  taking  a  negro  to  Kansas,  to  be  held  in 
slavery,  is  a  possibility  with  any  man.  Any  man  who  has  sense  enough 
to  be  the  controller  of  his  own  property,  has  too  much  sense  to  misun- 
derstand the  outrageous  character  of  the  whole  Nebraska  business. 

"But  I  digress.  In  my  opposition  to  the  admission  of  Kansas,  I  shall 
have  some  company;  but  we  may  be  beaten.  If  we  are,  I  shall  not,  on 
that  account,  attempt  to  dissolve  the  Union.  I  think  it  probable,  how- 

*This  confident  prediction  was  made  two  years  before  the  Lecompton  Constitution 
was  framed. 


ever,  that  we  shall  be  beaten.  Standing  as  a  unit  among  yourselves, 
you  can,  directly,  and  indirectly,  bribe  enough  of  our  men  to  carry  the 
day — as  you  could  on  an  open  proposition  to  establish  monarchy.  Get 
hold  of  some  man  in  the  North  whose  position  and  ability  are  such  that 
he  can  make  the  support  of  your  measure — whatever  it  may  be — a  dem- 
ocratic party  necessity,  and  the  thing  is  done. 

"  Apropos  of  this,  let  me  tell  you  an  anecdote.  Douglas  introduced 
the  Nebraska  bill  in  January.  In  February,  afterwards,  there  was  a 
called  session  of  the  Illinois  legislature.  Of  the  one  hundred  members 
comprising  the  two  branches  of  that  body,  about  seventy  were  democrats. 
The  latter  held  a  caucus  in  which  the  Nebraska  bill  was  talked  of,  if 
not  formally  discussed.  It  was  thereby  discovered  that  just  three,  and 
no  more,  were  in  favor  of  the  measure.  In  a  day  or  two,  Douglas' 
orders  came  on  to  have  resolutions  passed,  approving  the  bill,  and  they 
were  passed  by  large  majorities ! ! !  The  truth  of  this  is  vouched  for  by 
a  bolting  democratic  member.  The  masses,  too,  democratic  as  well  as 
whig,  were  even  more  unanimous  against  it,  but  as  soon  as  the  party 
necessity  of  supporting  it  became  apparent,  the  way  the  democracy 
began  to  see  the  wisdom  and  justice  of  it  was  perfectly  astonishing. 

"  You  say  if  Kansas  fairly  votes  herself  a  free  state,  as  a  Christian 
you  will  rather  rejoice  at  it.  All  decent  slaveholders  talk  that  way,  and 
1  do  not  doubt  their  candor.  But  they  never  vote  that  way.  Although, 
in  a  private  letter  or  conversation  you  will  express  your  preference  that 
Kansas  shall  be  free,  you  would  vote  for  no  man  for  Congress  who  would 
say  the  same  thing  publicly.  No  such  man  could  be  elected,  from  any 
district,  or  any  slave  state.  You  think  Stringfellow  &  Co.  ought  to  be 
hung ;  and  yet  you  will  vote  for  the  exact  type  and  representation  of 
Stringfellow.  The  slave-breeders  and  slave-traders  are  a  small  and  de- 
tested class  among  you,  and  yet  in  politics  they  dictate  the  course  of 
all  of  you,  and  are  as  completely  your  masters  as  you  are  the  masters 
of  your  own  negroes. 

"  You  inquire  where  I  now  stand.  TLat  is  a  disputed  point.  I  think 
I  am  a  whig;  but  others  say  there  are  no  whigs,  and  that  I  am  an  abo- 
litionist. When  I  was  in  "Washington,  I  voted  for  the  Wilmot  Proviso 
as  good  as  forty  times,  and  I  never  heard  of  any  attempt  to  uuwhig  me 
for  that.  I  now  do  no  more  than  oppose  the  extension  of  slavery.  I 
am  not  a  Know-Nothing, — that  is  certain.  How  could  I  be  ?  How  can 
any  one  who  abhors  the  oppression  of  the  negroes  be  in  favor  of  de- 
grading classes  of  white  people  ?  -Our  progress  in  degeneracy  appears 
to  me  to  be  pretty  rapid.  As  a  nation,  we  began  by  declaring  that '  all 
men  are  created  equal.'  We  now  practically  read  it '  all  men  are  created 
equal  except  negroes.'  When  the  Know-Nothings  get  control,  it  will 
read,  'all  men  are  created  equal  except  negroes  and  foreigners  and 
Catholics.'  "\VTieii  it  comes  to  that,  I  should  prefer  emigrating  to  some 


country  -where  they  make  no  pretense  of  loving  liberty — to  Eussia  for 
instance,  where  despotism  can  be  taken  pure,  and  without  the  base  alloy 
of  hypocrisy. 

"Your  friend  forever, 


This  letter,  written  with  perfect  freedom  to  an  old  personal 
friend  attached  to  the  interests  of  slavery  in  a  slave  state, 
gives  with  wonderful  clearness  the  state  of  the  slavery  ques- 
tion at  the  time,  and  Mr.  Lincoln's  own  views  and  feelings. 

7  O 

Events  justified  the  writer's  judgment,  and  verified  his  pre- 
dictions. Mr.  Lincoln  still  considered  himself  a  whig.  The 


name  was  one  he  loved,  and  the  old  party  associations  were  very 
precious  to  him.  But  he  was  passing  through  the  weaning 
process,  and  was  realizing  more  and  more,  with  the  passage 
of  every  month,  that  there  could  be  no  resuscitation  of  the 
dead  or  dying  organization.  The  interests  of  slavery  had 
severed  from  it  forever  that  portion  that  had  made  it  a  pow- 
erful national  party.  It  could  not  extend  itself  an  inch  south 
of  Mason's  and  Dixon's  line.  The  slavery  question  was  the 
great  question.  Opposition  to  the  extension  and  encroach- 
ments of  slavery  was  sectional,  and  any  party  which  exer- 
cised this  opposition,  however  broad  its  views  might  be,  was 
necessarily  sectional.  Mr.  Lincoln's  logical  mind  soon  dis- 
covered this,  and  accordingly  we  find  him,  May  29th,  1856, 
attending  a  convention  at  Bloomington,  of  those  who  were 
opposed  to  the  democratic  party.  Here,  and  with  Mr.  Lin- 
coln's powerful  assistance,  the  republican  party  of  Illinois  was 
organized,  a  platform  adopted,  a  state  ticket  nominated,  and 
delegates  were  appointed  to  the  National  Republican  Conven- 
tion in  Philadelphia,  which  was  to  be  held  on  the  seventeenth 
of  the  following  month. 

There  is  no  doubt  that,  from  the  date  of  this  meeting,  he 
felt  himself  more  a  free  man  in  politics  than  ever  before. 
His  hatred  of  slavery  had  been  constantly  growing,  and  now 
he  was  the  member  of  a  party  whose  avowed  purpose  it  was 
to  resist  the  extension  of  slavery,  and  to  shut  it  up  in  the  ter- 
ritory where  it  held  its  only  rights  under  the  Constitution. 


The  speech  which  he  made  on  this  occasion  was  one  of  distin- 
guished power  and  eloquence.  Mr.  Scripps,  in  the  little 
sketch  of  his  life  to  which  an  allusion  has  already  been  made 
in  this  volume,  says:  "Never  was  an  audience  more  com- 
pletely electrified  by  human  eloquence.  Again  and  again 
during  the  progress  of  its  delivery,  they  sprang  to  their  feet 
and  upon  the  benches,  and  testified  by  long  continued  shouts 
and  the  waving  of  hats,  how  deeply  the  speaker  had  wrought 
upon  their  minds  and  hearts.  It  fused  the  mass  of  hitherto 
incongruous  elements  into  perfect  homogeneity,  and  from  that 
day  to  the  present  they  have  worked  together  in  harmonious 
and  fraternal  union. 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  now  regarded,  not  only  by  the  republicans 
of  Illinois,  but  by  all  the  western  states,  as  their  first  man. 
Accordingly  they  presented  his  name  to  the  national  conven- 
tion as  their  candidate  for  the  vice-presidency.  On  the  in- 
formal ballot,  he  received  one  hundred  and  ten  votes  to  two 
hundred  and  fifty-nine  for  Mr.  Dayton.  This,  of  course,  de- 
cided the  matter  against  him,  but  the  vote  was  a  compliment- 
ary one,  and  was  Mr.  Lincoln's  formal  introduction  to  the 
nation.  Mr.  Lincoln  labored  with  his  accustomed  zeal  during 
the  campaign  for  Fremont  and  Dayton,  the  republican  nomi- 
nees, and  had  the  pleasure,  at  the  end  of  the  canvass,  of  find- 
ing the  state  revolutionized.  Colonel  William  H.  Bissell,  the 
opposition  candidate  for  Governor,  was  elected  by  a  notable 
majority,  although  there  were  men  enough  who  were  not 
aware  that  the  whig  party  was  dead  to  give  the  electoral  vote 
to  Mr.  Buchanan,  through  their  support  of  Mr.  Fillmore. 

A  little  incident  occurred  during  the  campaign  that  illus- 
trated Mr.  Lincoln's  readiness  in  turning  a  political  point. 
He  was  making  a  speech  at  Charleston,  Coles  County,  when 
a  voice  called  out,  "Mr.  Lincoln,  is  it  true  that  you  entered 
this  state  barefoot,  driving  a  yoke  of  oxen?"  Mr.  Lincoln 
paused  for  full  half  a  minute,  as  if  considering  whether  he 
should  notice  such  cruel  impertinence,  and  then  said  that  he 
thought  he  could  prove  the  fact  by  at  least  a  dozen  men  in 
the  crowd,  any  one  of  whom  was  more  respectable  than  his 


questioner.  But  the  question  seemed  to  inspire  him,  and  he 
went  on  to  show  what  free  institutions  had  done  for  himself, 
and  to  exhibit  the  evils  of  slavery  to  the  white  man  wherever 
it  existed,  and  asked  if  it  was  not  natural  that  he  should  hate 
slavery,  and  agitate  against  it.  "Yes,"  said  he,  "we  will 
speak  for  freedom  and  against  slavery,  as  long  as  the  Consti- 
tution of  our  country  guarantees  free  speech,  until  everywhere 
on  this  wide  land,  the  sun  shall  shine  and  the  rain  shall  fall 
and  the  wind  shall  blow  upon  no  man  who  goes  forth  to  unre- 
quited toil." 

From  this  time  to  the  close  of  his  life,  lie  was  almost  en- 
tirely absorbed  by  political  affairs.  He  still  took  charge  of 
important  cases  in  court,  and  practiced  his  profession  at  inter- 
vals ;  but  he  was  regarded  as  a  political  man,  and  had  many 
responsibilities  thrown  upon  him  by  the  new  organization. 
During  the  summer  succeeding  the  presidential  canvass,  and 
after  Mr.  Buchanan  had  taken  his  seat,  Mr.  Douglas  was  in- 
vited by  the  grand  jury  of  the  United  States  District  Court 
for  Southern  Illinois,  to  deliver  a  speech  at  Springfield,  when 
the  court  was  in  session.  In  that  speech,  the  senator  showed 
the  progress  he  had  made  in  his  departure  from  the  doctrines 
of  the  fathers,  by  announcing  that  the  frarners  of  the  Declara- 
tion of  Independence,  when  they  asserted  that  "all  men  are 
created  equal,"  only  meant  to  say  that  "British  subjects"  on 
this  continent  were  equal  to  British  subjects  born  and  residing 
in  Great  Britain."  Mr.  Lincoln  was  invited  by  a  large  num- 
ber of  citizens  to  reply  to  this  speech,  and  did  so.  After 
showing  in  his  own  quiet  and  ingenious  way  the  absurdity  of 
this  assumption  of  Judge  Douglas,  telling  his  auditors  that, 
as  they  were  preparing  to  celebrate  the  Fourth  of  July,  and 
would  read  the  Declaration,  he  would  like  to  have  them  read 
it  in  Judge  Douglas'  way,  viz :  "We  hold  these  truths  to  be 
self-evident,  that  all  British  subjects  who  were  on  this  conti- 
nent eighty-one  years  ago,  were  created  equal  to  all  British 
subjects  born  and  then  residing  in  Great  Britain," — he  said: 
"  And  now  I  appeal  to  all — to  democrats  as  well  as  others :  are 
you  really  willing  that  the  Declaration  shall  thus  be  frittered 


away? — thus  left  no  more,  at  most,  than  an  interesting  memo- 
rial of  the  dead  past? — thus  shorn  of  its  vitality  and  its  prac- 
tical value,  and  left  without  the  germ  or  even  the  suggestion 
of  the  inalienable  rights  of  man  in  it?"  Then  Mr.  Lincoln 
added  his  opinion  as  to  what  the  authors  of  the  Declaration 
intended ;  and  it  has  probably  never  been  stated  with  a  more 
catholic  spirit,  or  in  choicer  terms: 

"  I  think  the  authors  of  that  notable  instrument  intended  to  include 
all  men ;  but  they  did  not  intend  to  declare  all  men  equal  in  all  respects. 
They  did  not  mean  to  say  all  were  equal  in  color,  size,  intellect,  moral 
developments,  or  social  capacity.  They  denned  with  tolerable  distinct- 
ness in  what  respects  they  did  consider  all  men  equal — equal  in  certain 
inalienable  rights,  among  which  are  life,  liberty  and  the  pursuit  of  hap- 
piness. This  they  said  and  this  they  meant.  They  did  not  mean  to 
assert  the  obvious  untruth  that  all  were  then  actually  enjoying  that 
equality,  nor  yet  that  they  were  about  to  confer  it  upon  them.  In  fact, 
they  had  no  power' to  confer'  such  a  boon.  They  meant  simply  to  de- 
clare the  right,  so  that  the  enforcement  of  it  might  follow  as  fast  as 
circumstances  should  permit.  They  meant  to  set  up  a  standard  maxim 
for  free  society,  which  should  be  familiar  to  all  and  revered  by  all ;  con- 
stantly looked  to,  constantly  labored  for,  and,  even  though  never  per- 
fectly attained,  constantly  approximated,  and  thereby  constantly  spread- 
ing and  deepening  its  influence,  and  augmenting  the  happiness  and  value 
of  life  to  all  people  of  all  colors  everywhere." 

The  project  of  making  Kansas  a  slave  state  was  in  full 
progress.  The  event  which  Mr.  Lincoln  had  so  distinctly 
prophesied — the  formation  of  a  pro-slavery  constitution  by 
unfair  means  and  alien  agents — was  in  full  view;  and  those 
who  were  interested  in  it  did  their  best  to  prepare  the  minds 
of  the  people  for  it.  Political  morality  seemed  at  its  lowest 
ebb.  A  whole  party  was  bowing  to  the  behests  of  slavery, 
and  those  who  were  opposed  to  the  institution  and  the  power 
born  of  it  had  become  stupefied  in  the  presence  of  its  bold 
assumptions  and  rapid  advances.  People  had  ceased  to  be 
surprised  at  any  of  its  claims,  and  any  exhibition  of  its  spirit 
and  policy.  If  Mr.  Buchanan  had  any  conscientious  scruples, 
they  were  easily  overborne,  and  he  lent  himself  to  the  schemes 
of  the  plotters.  A  pro-slavery  legislature  was  elected  mainly 


by  non-residents,  at  an  election  in  which  the  free  state  men, 
who  numbered  three-fourths  of  the  entire  population,  refused 
to  participate,  on  account  of  illegality.  This  legislature, 
meeting  at  Lecompton,  passed  an  act  providing  for  the  election 
of  a  convention  to  form  a  state  constitution,  preparatory  to 
asking  an  admission  into  the  Union.  In  the  election  of  this 
convention,  the  free  state  men  took  no  part,  on  the  ground 
that  the  legislature  which  ordered  it  had  no  legal  authority. 
About  two  thousand  votes  were  cast,  while  the  legal  voters 
in  the  territory  numbered  more  than  ten  thousand.  The  Le- 
compton Convention  framed,  of  course,  a  pro-slavery  consti- 
tution. It  is  not  necessary  to  recount  the  means  by  which 
this  constitution  was  subsequently  overthrown,  and  one  pro- 
hibiting slavery  substituted  in  its  place.  It  is  sufficient  for 
the  present  purpose  to  state  that  upon  the  promulgation  of  the 
constitution  formed  at  Lecompton,  Robert  J.  Walker,  then 
Governor  of  Kansas,  went  immediately  to  Washington  to  re- 
monstrate against  its  adoption  by  Congress,  and  that  before 
he  could  reach  the  capitol  it  had  received  the  approval  of  the 

These  facts  have  place  here  to  give  the  basis  of  the  political 
relations  between  Mr.  Lincoln  and  Mr.  Douglas ;  for  they  were 
approaching  their  great  struggle.  The  senatorial  term  of  Mr. 
Douglas  was  drawing  to  a  close,  and  he  wished  to  be  indorsed 
by  the  people  of  Illinois,  and  returned  to  the  Senate.  The 
events  of  the  previous  year  had  shown  him  that  a  great  polit- 
ical revolution  was  in  progress,  and  that  his  seat  was  actually 
in  danger.  He  saw  what  was  going  on  in  Kansas,  and  knew 
that  the  iniquities  in  progress  there  would  be  laid  at  his  door. 
It  was  he  who,  in  a  time  of  peace,  had  opened  the  flood-gates 
of  agitation.  It  was  he  who  had  given  to  the  slave-power 
what  it  had  not  asked  for,  but  could  not  consistently  refuse. 
It  was  he  who  had  gratuitously  offered  the  slave-power  the 
privilege  of  making  territory  forever  set  apart  to  freedom  its 
own,  if  it  could.  He  had  divided  his  own  party  in  his  own 
state,  and  was  losing  his  confidence  as  to  his  own  political 
future.  That  he  knew  just  what  was  coming  in  Kansas,  and 


kne\v  what  the  effect  would  be  upon  himself,  is  evident  in  the 
speech  he  made  at  Springfield,  from  Mr.  Lincoln's  reply  to 
which  a  passage  has  already  been  quoted.  In  this  he  under- 
took to  shift  to  the  shoulders  of  the  republican  party  the  bur- 
den he  felt  to  be  pressing  upon  his  own.  Speaking  of  Kansas, 
he  said :  "  The  law  under  which  her  delegates  are  about  to  be 
elected  is  believed  to  be  just  and  fair  in  all  its  objects  and  pro- 
visions. *  *  *  If  any  portion  of  the  inhabitants,  acting  under 
the  advice  of  political  leaders  in  distant  states,  shall  choose  to 
absent  themselves  from  the  polls,  and  withhold  their  votes  with 
the  view  of  leaving  the  free  state  democrats  in  the  minority, 
and  thus  securing  a  pro-slavery  constitution  in  opposition  to 
the  wishes  of  a  majority  of  the  people  living  under  it,  let  the 
responsibility  rest  on  those  who,  for  partisan  purposes,  will  sac- 
rifice the  principles  they  profess  to  cherish  and  promote.  Upon 
them  and  upon  the  political  party  for  whose  benefit  and  under 
the  direction  of  whose  leaders  they  act,  let  the  blame  be  visited 
of  fastening  upon  the  people  of  a  new  state  institutions  repug- 
nant to  their  feelings  and  in  violation  of  their  wishes." 

In  a  subsequent  passage  of  this  same  speech,  he  amplifies 
these  points,  and  both  passages  show  that  he  knew  the  nature 
of  the  constitution  that  would  be  framed,  knew  that  the 
free  state  men  would  not  vote  at  all  because  they  believed 
the  movement  was  an  illegal  one,  and  knew  that  he  and  his 
party  would  be  held  responsible  for  the  outrage.  It  is  further 
to  be  said  that,  by  his  words  on  this  occasion,  he  fully  com- 
mitted himself,  in  advance,  to  whatever  the  Lecompton  Con- 
vention might  do.  "The  present  election  law  in  Kansas  is 
acknowledged  to  be  fair  and  just,"  he  says.  "Kansas  is  about 
to  speak  for  herself,"  he  declares.  By  these  words  alone,  he 
was  morally  committed  to  whatever  might  be  the  conclusions 
of  the  convention.  This  is  to  be  remembered,  for  Mr.  Doug- 
las soon  found  that  he  could  not  shift  the  burden  of  the  Kan- 
sas iniquity  upon  the  opposition,  and  that  his  only  hope  of  a 
re-election  to  the  senate  depended  upon  his  taking  issue  with 
the  administration  on  this  very  case,  and  becoming  the  cham- 
pion of  the  anti-Lecompton  men. 


ONE  of  the  most  remarkable  passages  in  Mr.  Lincoln's 
history  was  his,  contest  with  Senator  Douglas,  in  1858,  for  the 
seat  in  the  United  States  Senate  which  was  soon  to  be  vacated 
by  the  expiration  of  the  term  for  which  the  latter  was  elected. 
Frequent  allusion  has  been  made  to  this  already ;  but  before 
proceeding  to  its  description  something  further  should  be  said 
of  Mr.  Douglas  himself. 

Mr.  Douglas  was  but  little  more  than  twenty  years  of  age 
when,  in  1833,  he  entered  Illinois.  He  was  poor — penniless, 
indeed.  The  first  money  he  earned  in  the  state  was  as  the 
clerk  of  an  auction  sale.  His  next  essay  was  in  teaching 
school.  He  began  to  practice  law  during  the  second  year, 
and  at  the  age  of  twenty-two  was  elected  Attorney  General 
of  the  state.  He  resigned  this  office  in  1835,  and  was  elected 
a  member  of  the  legislature.  It  was  here  that  he  and  Abra- 
ham Lincoln  met  for  the  first  time.  In  1837,  before  he  was 
twenty-five  years  old,  he  received  the  democratic  nomination 
for  Congress,  and  was  only  beaten  by  a  majority  of  five  votes. 
In  1840,  he  was  appointed  secretary  of  the  state  of  Illinois, 
and  in  1843  he  was  elected  to  Congress,  and  re-elected  in 
1844  and  1846.  Before  he  took  his  seat  under  the  last  elec- 
tion, he  was  elected  to  the  United  States  Senate;  and  his 
second  term  of  service  in  this  august  body  was  about  expiring 
at  the  present  point  of  this  history. 

The  career  of  Mr.  Douglas  had  been  one  of  almost  unin- 
terrupted political  success.  He  was  the  recognized  leader  of 


the  democratic  party  of  Illinois,  and  had  been  known  and  felt 
as  a  positive  power  in  national  legislation.  He  had  very  de- 
cided opinions  upon  all  the  great  questions  passed  upon  by 
Congress,  and,  though  not  unfrequently  at  variance  with  the 
administrations  he  had  himself  assisted  to  place  in  power,  his 
influence  was  great  in  whatever  direction  he  might  choose  to 
exert  it.  He  accomplished  much  in  establishing  and  nourish- 
ing the  prosperity  of  Illinois.  No  man  did  so  much  as  Mr. 
Douglas  for  securing  those  magnificent  grants  of  land  which 
contributed  to  the  development  of  his  adopted  state.  To  the 
material  interests  of  Illinois,  and  the  preservation  of  the  power 
of  the  democratic  party  in  that  state,  he  was  thoroughly  de- 
voted; and  that  party  honored  him  with  its  entire  confidence 
and  almost  unquestioning  support.  He  was  their  first  man; 
and  they  bestowed  upon  him,  during  his  life,  more  honor  than 
they  ever  gave  to  any  other  man  living  on  their  territory. 

Mr.  Lincoln  had  watched  this  man,  with  admiration  for  his 
tact  and  respect  for  his  power  with  the  people.  He  had  seen 
him  winning  the  highest  honors  in  their  gift,  and,  if  he  did 
not  envy  him,  it  was  not  because  he  was  not  ambitious.  It 
was  because  nothing  so  mean  as  envy  could  have  place  in  him. 
That  he  regarded  Mr.  Douglas  as  an  unscrupulous  man  in  the 
use  of  means  for  securing  his  ambitious  ends,  there  is  no 
doubt ;  and  although  he  would  have  refused  honor  and  office 
on  the  terms  on  which  Mr.  Douglas  received  them,  he  was 
much  impressed  by  the  dignities  with  which  the  Senator  was 
invested,  and  felt  that  the  power  he  held  was  a  precious,  aye, 
a  priceless,  possession. 

From  the  original  manuscript  of  one  of  Mr.  Lincoln's 
speeches,  these  words  are  transferred  to  this  biography: 
"  Twenty-two  years  ago,  Judge  Douglas  and  I  first  became 
acquainted.  We  were  both  young  then — he  a  trifle  younger 
than  I.  Even  then  we  were  both  ambitious, — I,  perhaps, 
quite  as  much  so  as  he.  With  me,  the  race  of  ambition  has 
been  a  failure — a  flat  failure;  with  him,  it  has  been  one  of 
splendid  success.  His  name  fills  the  nation,  and  is  not  un- 
known even  in  foreign  lands.  I  affect  no  contempt  for  the 


high  eminence  he  has  reached.  So  reached  that  the  oppressed 
of  my  species  might  have  shared  with  me  in  the  elevation,  I 
would  rather  stand  on  that  eminence  than  wear  the  richest 
crown  that  ever  pressed  a  monarch's  brow." 

This  extract  touches  the  points  of  similarity  between  the 
two  men,  and  their  points  of  difference.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  far 
from  insensible  to  the  honors  of  Mr.  Douglas'  position;  but 
he  would  not  have  them  at  the  price  Mr.  Douglas  had  paid  for 
them.  The  oppressed  of  his  species  had  not  shared  with  Mr. 
Douglas  in  his  elevation.  The  slave  had  had  none  of  his 
consideration;  and  he  was  in  league  with  the  slave's  oppres- 
sor. It  would  not  have  been  pleasant  to  Mr.  Lincoln  to  wear 
the  honors  of  Mr.  Douglas,  if,  with  them,  he  had  been  obliged 
to  carry  the  responsibility  of  extending  or  giving  latitude  and 
lease  to  an  institution  which  made  chattels  of  men.  Mr. 
Douglas  looked  upon  slavery  either  with  indifference  or  ap- 
proval. He  had  publicly  said  that  he  did  not  care  whether 
slavery  was  "voted  up  or  voted  down"  in  the  territories. 
Mr.  Lincoln  regarded  slavery  as  a  great  moral,  social  and 
political  wrong.  Here  was  the  vital  difference  between  the 
two,  recognized  as  such  by  Mr.  Lincoln  himself. 

After  the  adoption  of  the  Lecompton  Constitution  in  Kan- 
sas, Mr.  Douglas  having  foreseen  its  character,  and  having 
virtually  committed  himself  to  it  in  advance — having,  indeed, 
undertaken  to  make  the  republican  party  morally  responsible 
for  its  existence  and  adoption,  a  change  seems  to  have  come 
over  his  opinions.  Before  he  departed  for  Washington,  to 
attend  the  session  of  1857  and  1858,  it  was  whispered  that  he 
was  about  to  break  with  the  administration  on  the  Lecompton 
business.  It  is  always  pleasant  to  give  men  credit  for  the 
best  motives ;  and  those  under  which  he  acted  may  have  been 
the  best.  To  oppose  that  constitution  was  certainly  not  in- 
consistent with  his  pet  doctrine  "popular  sovereignty"  when 
taken  by  itself,  for  nothing  was  more  easily  demonstrable  than 
the  fact  that  that  constitution  was  not  the  act  and  deed  of  the 
people  of  Kansas — that  it  was  in  no  sense  an  expression  of 
their  will.  While  this  is  true,  it  is  proper  to  remember  that 


Mr.  Douglas  was  shrewd  enough  to  see  that  he  could  not 
carry  the  burden  of  the  Lecompton  Constitution  through  the 
canvass  for  the  senatorial  prize,  then  imminent.  The  outrage 
was  too  flagrant  to  be  ignored,  and  the  facts  too  notorious  to 
be  disputed.  He  was  also  shrewd  enough  to  see  that  his  op- 
position to  the  Lecompton  fraud  would  take  from  the  republi- 
can party  some  of  its  best  capital,  and  greatly  distract  the 
opposition  in  their  efforts  to  defeat  him. 

During  that  session  of  Congress  Mr.  Douglas  fought  a  gal- 
lant and  manly  fight  against  the  administration  on  the  Le- 
compton question,  and,  on  that  question,  voted  and  labored 
with  the  republicans.  It  was  a  bold  step.  Without  Mr. 
Douglas,  it  is  easy  to  see  that  the  Lecompton  Constitution 
would  have  been  impossible.  He  voluntarily  threw  open  the 
territory  to  this  outrage.  Then  he  tried  to  kill  his  own  legiti- 
mate child.  He  forsook  the  men  whom  he  had  led  into  the 
great  iniquity.  The  republicans  were  grateful  for  his  aid,  and 
were  naturally  drawn  to  him  in  sympathy  because,  for  his 
efforts  on  behalf  of  justice  in  Kansas,  he  had  incurred  the 
enmity  of  Mr.  Buchanan,  who  was  regarded  as  a  most  willing 
tool  in  the  hands  of  the  slave  power. 

The  democratic  state  convention  of  Illinois  assembled  on 
the  21st  of  April,  1858,  and  endorsed  Mr.  Douglas  in  his 
position  as  an  anti-Lecompton  man.  They  placed  a  state 
ticket  in  the  field,  and  engineered  the  canvass  with  such  skill 
and  vigor  that  the  administration,  through  its  office-holders, 
could  make  no  headway  against  them.  The  power  of  Mr. 
Douglas  over  the  politicians  and  masses  in  his  own  state,  was 
never  better  illustrated  than  during  this  campaign,  when  all 
the  patronage  of  the  federal  government  could  do  nothing  to 
defeat  him.  Before  the  close  of  the  session,  Mr.  Douglas 
went  home  to  look  after  his  interests,  and  to  prepare  for  the 
great  campaign  of  his  life. 

A  large  number  of  republicans  in  the  eastern  states  who  had 
not  known  Mr.  Douglas  at  home,  and  who  had  witnessed  his 


bold  and  gallant  fight  with  the  administration  and  the  slave- 
power  in  the*  senate,  expressed  the  wish  that  their  friends  in 


Illinois  might  find  it  in  the  line  of  their  duty  to  aid  in  return- 
ing him  to  the  senate.  The  republicans  of  Illinois,  hoAvcver, 
felt  that  they  knew  the  man  better,  and  that  their  duty  did 
not  lie  in  that  direction  at  all.  They  urged  that  Mr.  Douglas 
did  not  agree  with  them  in  a  single  point  of  doctrine — that  he 
had  differed  with  the  administration  merely  on  a  question  of 
fact,  whether  the  Lecompton  Constitution  was  the  act  and  deed 
of  the  people  of  Kansas.  They  averred  that  he  adhered  to  the 
outrageous  decision  of  the  Supreme  Court  in  the  Dred  Scott 
case — that  a  negro  cannot  sue  in  a  United  States  court,  and 
that  Congress  cannot  prohibit  slavery  in  the  territories — and 
that  they  dared  not  trust  Mr.  Douglas.  To  this  it  was  re- 
plied that  Mr.  Douglas  was  coming  over  to  the  republican  party 
as  fast  as  he  could  carry  his  followers  with  him,  and  that  his 
extraordinary  hold  upon  the  masses  of  the  democratic  party 
at  the  North  would  enable  him  to  bring  to  the  republican 
ranks  a  reinforcement  which  would  prove  irresistible  at  the 
approaching  presidential  election.  The  rejoinder  of  the  Illi- 
nois republicans  was  that  the  probability  of  any  sincere  change 
of  faith  in  Mr..  Douglas  was  too  remote  and  uncertain  to  war- 
rant them  in  abandoning  an  organization  which  had  been 
formed  to  advance  a  great  and  just  cause,  and  which,  once 
dissolved,  could  not  be  re-formed  in  time  to  render  efficient 
service  in  the  election  of  1860.  Quite  a  controversy  grew 
out  of  the  differences  between  the  Illinois  republicans  and 
their  eastern  advisers,  and  no  small  degree  of  bitterness  was 
engendered.  The  party  in  Illinois  was  nearly  a  unit  in  its 
views,  but  the  controversy  had  undoubtedly  the  influence  to 
loosen  the  hold  of  the  organization  upon  some  of  its  members. 
The  effect  was  temporary,  however,  for  the  issues  of  the  cflm- 
paign  were  so  thoroughly  discussed,  and  the  discussions  them- 
selves were  so  generally  listened  to,  or  read  in  the  journals 
of  the  day,  that  it  is  doubtful  whether  Mr.  Douglas  gained 
any  appreciable  advantage  from  the  controversy,  or  the  sym- 
pathy of  republicans  in  other  states. 

The  republican  state  convention  met  at  Springfield  on  the 
sixteenth  of  June,  nearly  two  months  after  the  assembling  of 


the  democratic  convention.  Aside  from  the  senatorial  ques- 
tion, there  was  but  little  interest  in  the  proceedings.  For 
state  officers,  only  a  treasurer  and  a  superintendent  of  public 
instruction  were  to  be  nominated,  and,  besides  these  officers, 
only  the  members  of  a  legislature  were  to  be  elected.  Nearly 
six  hundred  delegates  were  present  in  the  convention,  and 
they,  with  their  alternates,  completed  a  round  thousand  of 
earnest  men,  gathered  from  all  parts  of  the  state.  The  fifth 
resolution  adopted  on  this  occasion  covers  the  grand  issue 
made  with  Judge  Douglas. 


"  That  while  we  deprecate  all  interference  on  the  part  of  political 
organizations  with  the  judiciary,  if  such  action  is  limited  to  its  appro- 
priate sphere,  yet  we  cannot  refrain  from  expressing  our  condemnation 
of  the  principles  and  tendencies  of  the  extra-judicial  opinions  of  a  ma- 
jority of  the  Judges  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States,  in  the 
matter  of  Dred  Scott,  wherein  the  political  heresy  is  put  forth  that  the 
federal  constitution  extends  slavery  into  all  the  territories  of  the  Re- 
public, and  so  maintains  it  that  neither  Congress  nor  the  people  through 
the  territorial  legislature  can  by  law  abolish  it.  We  hold  that  Congress 
possesses  sovereign  power  over  the  territories,  and  has  the  right  to 
govern  and  control  them  whilst  they  remain  in  a  territorial  condition, 
and  that  it  is  the  duty  of  the  general  government  to  protect  the  terri- 
tories from  the  curse  of  slavery,  and  to  preserve  the  public  domain  for 
the  occupation  of  free  men  and  free  labor;  and  we  declare  that  no 
power  on  earth  can  carry  and  maintain  slavery  in  the  states  against  the 
will  of  their  people  and  the  provisions  of  their  constitutions  and  laws; 
and  we  fully  indorse  the  recent  decision  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  our 
own  state,  which  declares  that  property  in  persons  is  repugnant  to  the 
Constitution  and  laws  of  Illinois,  and  that  all  persons  within  its  juris- 
diction are  presumed  to  be  free,  and  that  slavery,  where  it  exists,  is  a 
municipal  regulation,  without  any  extra-territorial  operation." 

If  there  were  men  in  the  convention  who  had  at  first  been 
affected  by  the  representations  of  the  republicans  in  the  east- 
ern states,  the  action  of  the  democratic  convention  which  met 
in  April  had  restored  their  determination  to  stand  by  their 
party  and  its  candidates.  That  convention  had  denounced 
the  republicans,  had  indorsed  the  old  democratic  platform  of 
the  party  adopted  at  Cincinnati  in  national  convention,  and, 
while  it  approved  the  course  of  Senator  Douglas,  failed  to 


say  one  word  in  condemnation  of  the  course  and  principles, 
or,  rather,  lack  of  principles,  of  Mr.  Buchanan  and  his  ad- 
ministration. The  republican  convention  had  hardly  assem- 
bled before  it  was  discovered  that  there  was  entire  unanimity 
for  Mr.  Lincoln,  as  their  nominee  in  opposition  to  Mr.  Douglas. 
When  a  banner  from  Chicago  was  borne  into  the  convention, 
inscribed  with  the  words — "  Cook  County  for  Abraham  Lin- 
coln " — the  whole  convention  rose  to  its  feet,  and  gave  three 
cheers  for  the  candidate  whom  it  was  proposed  to  place  in  the 
field  in  opposition  to  the  champion  of  "  popular  sovereignty." 
That  the  convention  was  embarrassed  and  doubtful  as  to  re- 
sults, there  is  no  question.  Mr.  Douglas  had  the  sympathy  of 
many  republicans  abroad,  he  had  attacked  a  hated  adminis- 
tration with  great  vigor  and  persistence,  he  had  the  enmity 
of  that  administration,  and,  in  the  state,  he  had  the  advantage 
of  an  unjust  apportionment  of  legislative  districts,  by  which 
not  less  than  ninety-three  thousand  people  wera  virtually  dis- 
franchised.* Though  it  was  not  according  to  the  wish  of 
many  of  the  members  of  the  convention  to  make  a  formal 
nomination  for  the  senate,  yet,  as  Mr.  Douglas  had  already 
declared  that  it  was  the  intention  to  use  Mr.  Lincoln's  name 
during  the  canvass,  and  to  adopt  another  name  in  the  legisla- 
ture, the  following  resolution  was  brought  forward,  and  unani- 
mously adopted : 

"That  Hon.  ABRAHAM  LINCOLN  is  our  first  and  only  choice  for 
United  States  Senator,  to  fill  the  vacancy  about  to  be  created  by  the 
expiration  of  Mr.  Douglas'  term  of  office." 

The  anxiety  of  the  convention  to  see  and  hear  their  chosen 
man  and  champion  was  intense ;  and  frequent  calls  were  made 
for  him  during  the  day.  That  Mr.  Lincoln  expected  the 
nomination,  and  had  prepared  himself  for  it,  is  evident.  It 
was  announced  at  length  that  he  would  address  the  members 
of  the  convention  at  the  State  House  in  the  evening.  During 
the  day,  he  was  busy  in  giving  the  finishing  touches  to  his 
speech,  which  had  been  prepared  with  unusual  care,  every 

*Scripps,  p.  24. 


sentence  having  been  carefully  weighed.  He  had  put  into  it 
what  he  believed  to  be  the  real  issues  of  the  campaign,  and 
had  laid  out  in  it  the  ground  upon  which  he  proposed  to  stand, 
and  fight  his  battles.  Before  going  to  the  hall,  he  entered  his 
law  office,  where  Mr.  Herndon,  his  partner,  was  sitting,  and 
turned  the  key  against  all  intrusion.  Taking  out  his  manu- 
script, he  read  to  Mr.  Herndon  the  first  paragraph  of  his 
speech,  and  asked  him  for  his  opinion  of  it.  Mr.  Herndon 
replied  that  it  was  all  true,  but  he  doubted  whether  it  was 
good  policy  to  give  it  utterance  at  that  time.  "  That  makes 
no  difference,"  responded  Mr.  Lincoln.  "It  is  the  truth,  and 
the  nation  is  entitled  to  it."  Then,  alluding  to  a  quotation 
which  he  had  made  from  the  Bible — "  A  house  divided  against 
itself  cannot  stand,"  he  said  that  he  wished  to  give  an  illus- 
tration familiar  to  all,  "that  he  who  reads  may  run."  "The 
proposition  is  true,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "and  has  been  true  for 
six  thousand  years,  and  I  wiU  deliver  it  as  it  is  written." 

At  eight  o'clock,  the  hall  of  the  House  of  Representatives 
was  filled  to  its  utmost  capacity,  and  when  Mr.  Lincoln  ap- 
peared he  was  received  with  the  most  tumultuous  applause. 
The  speech  which  he  made  on  that  occasion  is  so  full  of  mean- 
ing, so  fraught  with  prophecy,  so  keen  in  its  analysis,  so  irre- 
sistible in  its  logic,  so  profoundly  intelligent  concerning  the 
politics  of  the  time,  and,  withal,  so  condensed  in  the  expression 
of  every  part,  that  no  proper  idea  can  be  given  of  it  through 
any  description  or  abbreviation.  It  must  be  given  entire. 

Mr.  Lincoln  said: 

"  If  we  could  first  know  where  we  are,  and  whither  we  are  tending, 
we  could  better  judge  what  to  do,  and  how  to  do  it.  We  are  now  far 
into  the  fifth  year,  since  a  policy  was  initiated  with  the  avowed  object 
and  confident  promise  of  putting  an  end  to  slavery  agitation.  Under 
the  operation  of  that  policy,  that  agitation  has  not  only  not  ceased,  but 
has  constantly  augmented.  In  my  opinion,  it  will  not  cease,  until  a 
crisis  shall  have  been  reached  and  passed.  '  A  house  divide'd  against 
itself  cannot  stand.'  I  believe  this  government  cannot  endure  perma- 
nently half  slave  and  half  free.  I  do  not  expect  the  Union  to  be  dis- 
solved— I  do  not  expect  the  house  to  fall — but  I  do  expect  it  will  cease 
to  be  divided.  It  will  become  all  one  thing,  or  all  the  other.  Either 


the  opponents  of  slavery  will  arrest  the  further  spread  of  it,  and  place 
it  where  the  public  niind  shall  rest  in  the  belief  that  it  is  in  the  course 
of  ultimate  extinction ;  or  its  advocates  .will  push  it  forward,  till  it  shall 
become  alike  lawful  in  all  the  states,  old  as  well  as  new — North  as  well 
as  South. 

"  Have  we  no  tendency  to  the  latter  condition  ? 

"Let  any  one  who  doubts,  carefully  contemplate  that  now  almost 
complete  legal  combination— piece  of  machinery,  so  to  speak — com- 
pounded of  the  Nebraska  doctrine,  and  the  Dred  Scott  decision.  Let 
him  consider  not  only  what  work  the  machinery  is  adapted  to  do,  and 
how  well  adapted;  but  also,  let  him  study  the  history  of  its  construction, 
and  trace,  if  he  can,  or  rather  fail,  if  he  can,  to  trace  the  evidences  of 
design,  and  concert  of  action  among  its  chief  architects,  from  the  be- 

"  The  new  year  of  1854  found  slavery  excluded  from  more  than  half 
the  states  by  State  Constitutions,  and  from  most  of  the  national  terri- 
tory by  Congressional  prohibition.  Four  days  later,  commenced  the 
struggle  which  ended  in  repealing  that  Congressional  prohibition.  This 
opened  all  the  national  territory  to  slavery,  and  was  the  first  point 

"  But,  so  far,  Congress  only  had  acted ;  and  an  indorsement  by  the 
people,  real  or  apparent,  was  indispensable,  to  save  the  point  already 
gained,  and  give  chance  for  more. 

"  This  necessity  had  not  been  overlooked ;  but  had  been  provided  for, 
as  well  as  might  be,  in  the  notable  argument  of  '  squatter  sovereignty,' 
otherwise  called  '  sacred  right  of  self-government,'  which  latter  phrase, 
though  expressive  of  the  only  rightful  basis  of  any  government,  was  so 
perverted  in  this  attempted  use  of  it  as  to  amount  to  just  this :  That 
if  any  one  man  choose  to  enslave  another,  no  third  man  shall  be  allowed 
to  object.  That  argument  was  incorporated  into  the  Nebraska  bill 
itself,  in  the  language  which  follows :  '  It  being  the  true  intent  and 
meaning  of  this  act  not  to  legislate  slavery  into  any  territory  or  state, 
nor  to  exclude  it  therefrom ;  but  to  leave  the  people  thereof  perfectly 
free  to  form  and  regulate  their  domestic  institutions  in  their  own  way, 
subject  only  to  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States.'  Then  opened  the 
roar  of  loose  declamation  in  favor  of  '  squatter  sovereignty/  and  '  sacred 
right  of  self-government.'  '  But,'  said  opposition  members, '  let  us  amend 
the  bill  so  as  to  expressly  declare  that  the  people  of  the  territory  may 
exclude  slavery.'  '  Not  we,'  said  the  friends  of  the  measure ;  and  down 
they  voted  the  amendment. 

"  While  the  Nebraska  bill  was  passing  through  Congress,  a  law  cafe 
involving  the  question  of  a  negro's  freedom,  by  reason  of  his  owner 
having  voluntarily  taken  him  first  into  a  free  state  and  then  into  a  ter- 
ritory covered  by  the  Congressional  prohibition,  and  held  him  as  a  slave 


for  a  long  time  in  each,  was  passing  through  the  United  States  Circuit 
Court  for  the  District  of  Missouri ;  and  both  Nebraska  bill  and  lawsuit 
were  brought  to  a  decision  in  the  same  month  of  May,  1854.  The  ne- 
gro's name  was  '  Dred  Scott,'  Avhich  name  now  designates  the  decision 
finally  made  in  the  case.  Before  the  then  next  presidential  election, 
the  law  case  came  to,  and  was  argued  in  the  Supreme  Court  of  the 
United  States ,  but  the  decision  of  it  was  deferred  until  after  the  elec- 
tion. Still,  before  the  election,  Senator  Trumbull,  on  the  floor  of  the 
Senate,  requested  the  leading  advocate  of  the  Nebraska  bill  to  state  his 
opinion  whether  the  people  of  a  territory  can  constitutionally  exclude 
slavery  from  their  limits  ,•  and  the  latter  answers :  '  That  is  a  question 
for  the  Supreme  Court.' 

"  The  election  came.  Mr.  Buchanan  was  elected,  and  the  indorse- 
ment, such  as  it  was,  secured.  That  was  the  second  point  gained.  The 
indorsement,  however,  fell  short  of  a  clear  popular  majority  by  nearly 
four  hundred  thousand  votes,  and  so,  perhaps,  was  not  overwhelmingly 
reliable  and  satisfactory.  The  outgoing  President,  in  his  last  annual 
message,  as  impressively  as  possible  echoed  back  upon  the  people  the 
weight  and  authority  of  the  indorsement.  The  Supreme  Court  met 
again ;  did  not  announce  their  decision,  but  ordered  a  re-argument. 
The  presidential  inauguration  came,  and  still  no  decision  of  the  court; 
but  the  incoming  president  in  his  inaugural  address  fervently  exhorted 
the  people  to  abide  by  the  forthcoming  decision,  whatever  it  might  be. 
Then,  in  a  few  days,  came  the  decision. 

"  The  reputed  author  of  the  Nebraska  bill  finds  an  early  occasion  to 
make  a  speech  at  this  capital  indorsing  the  Dred  Scott  decision,  and 
vehemently  denouncing  all  opposition  to  it.  The  new  president,  too, 
seizes  the  early  occasion  of  the  Silliman  letter  to  indorse  and  strongly 
construe  that  decision,  and  to  express  his  astonishment  that  any  different 
view  had  ever  been  entertained  1 

"  At  length  a  squabble  springs  up  between  the  president  and  the  au- 
thor of  the  Nebraska  bill,  on  the  mere  question  of  fact,  whether  the 
Lecompton  Constitution  was  or  was  not,  in  any  just  sense,  made  by  the 
people  of  Kansas ;  and  in  that  quarrel  the  latter  declares  that  all  he 
wants  is  a  fair  vote  for  the  people,  and  that  he  cares  not  whether  slavery 
be  voted  down  or  voted  up.  I  do  not  understand  his  declaration  that 
he  cares  not  whether  slavery  be  voted  down  or  voted  up  to  be  intended 
by  him  other  than  as  an  apt  definition  of  the  policy  he  would  impress 
upon  the  public  mind — the  principle  for  which  he  declares  he  has  suf- 
fered so  much,  and  is  ready  to  suffer  to  the  end.  And  well  "may  he  cling 
to  that  principle.  If  he  has  any  parental  feeling,  well  may  he  cling  to 
it.  That  principle  is  the  only  shred  left  of  his  original  Nebraska  doc- 
trine. Under  the  Dred  Scott  decision  squatter  sovereignty  squatted 
out  of  existence,  tumbled  down  like  temporary  scaffolding — like  the 


mould  at  the  foundry,  served  through  one  blast  and  fell  back  into  loose 
sand — helped  to  carry  an  election,  and  then  was  kicked  to  the  winds. 
His  late  joint  struggle  with  the  republicans,  against  the  Lecompton 
Constitution,  involves  nothing  of  the  original  Nebraska  doctrine.  That 
struggle  was  made  on  a  point — the  right  of  a  people  to  make  their  own 
constitution — upon  which  he  and  the  republicans  have  never  differed. 

"  The  several  points  of  the  Dred  Scott  decision,  in  connection  with 
Senator  Douglas' 'care  not' policy,  constitute  the  piece  of  machinery, 
in  its  present  state  of  advancement.  This  was  the  third  point  gained. 
The  working  points  of  that  machinery  are : 

"First,  That  no  negro  slave,  imported  as  such  from  Africa,  and  no 
descendant  of  such  slave,  can  ever  be  a  citizen  of  any  state,  in  the  sense 
of  that  term  as  used  in  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States.  This 
point  is  made  in  order  to  deprive  the  negro,  in  every  possible  event,  of 
the  benefit  of  that  provision  of  the  United  States  Constitution,  which 
declares  that '  The  citizens  of  each  state  shall  be  entitled  to  all  privi- 
leges and  immunities  of  citizens  in  the  several  states.' 

"  Secondly,  That  '  subject  to  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,' 
neither  Congress  nor  a  territorial  legislature  can  exclude  slavery  from 
any  United  States  territory.  This  point  is  made  in  order  that  individ- 
ual men  may  fill  up  the  territories  with  slaves,  without  danger  of  losing 
them  as  property,  and  thus  to  enhance  the  chances  of  permanency  to 
the  institution  through  all  the  future. 

"  Thirdly,  That  whether  the  holding  a  negro  in  actual  slavery  in  a 
free  state,  makes  him  free,  as  against  the  holder,  the  United  States 
courts  will  not  decide,  but  will  leave  to  be  decided  by  the  courts  of  any 
slave  state  the  negro  may  be  forced  into  by  the  master.  This  point  is 
made,  not  to  be  pressed  immediately ;  but,  if  acquiesced  in  for  awhile, 
and  apparently  indorsed  by  the  people  at  an  election,  then  to  sustain  the 
logical  conclusion  that  what  Dred  Scott's  master  might  lawfully  do  with 
Dred  Scott,  in  the  free  state  of  Illinois,  every  other  master  may  lawfully 
do  with  any  other  one,  or  one  thousand  slaves,  in  Illinois,  or  in  any 
other  free  state. 

"  Auxiliary  to  all  this,  and  working  hand  in  hand  with  it,  the  Nebraska 
doctrine,  or  what  is  left  of  it,  is  to  educate  and  mould  public  opinion, 
at  least  northern  public  opinion,  not  to  care  whether  slavery  is  voted 
down  or  voted  up.  This  shows  exactly  where  we  now  are ;  and  par- 
tially, also,  whither  we  are  tending. 

"It  will  throw  additional  light  on  the  latter,  to  go  back,  and  run  the 
mind  over  the  string  of  historical  facts  already  stated.  Several  things 
will  now  appear  less  dark  and  mysterious  than  they  did  when  they  were 
transpiring.  The  people  were  to  be  left  'perfectly  free,'  'subject  only 
to  the  Constitution.'  What  the  Constitution  had  to  do  with  it,  out- 
siders could  not  then  see.  Plainly  enough  now,  it  was  an  exactly  fitted 

LIFE    OF    ABRAHAM    L1XCOLN,  165 

niche,  for  the  Drecl  Scott  decision  to  afterward  come  in,  and  declare  the 
perfect  freedom  of  the  people  to  be  just  no  freedom  at  all.  Why  was 
the  amendment,  expressly  declaring  the  right  of  the  people,  voted 
down  V  Plainly  enough  now :  the  adoption  of  it  would  have  spoiled  the 
niche  for  the  Dred  Scott  decision.  Why  was  the  court  decision  held 
up?  Why  even  a  senator's  individual  opinion  withheld,  till  after  the 
presidential  election?  Plainly  enough  now:  the  speaking  out  then 
•would  have  damaged  the  perfectly  free  argument  \ipon  which  the  elec- 
tion was  to  be  carried.  Why  the  out-going  president's  felicitation  on 
the  indorsement?  Why  the  delay  of  a  re-argument?  Why  the  incom- 
ing president's  advance  exhortation  in  favor  of  the  decision  ?  These 
things  look  like  the  cautious  patting  and  petting  of  a  spirited  horse 
preparatory  to  mounting  him,  when  it  is  dreaded  that  he  may  give  the 
rider  a  fall.  And  why  the  hasty  after-indorsement  of  the  decision  by 
the  president  and  others  ? 

"  We  cannot  absolutely  know  that  all  these  exact  adaptations  are  the 
result  of  preconcert.  But  when  we  see  a  lot  of  framed  timbers,  different 
portions  of  Avhich  we  know  have  been  gotten  out  at  different  times  and 
places  and  by  different  workmen — Stephen,  Franklin,  Roger  and  James, 
for  instance — and  when  we  see  these  timbers  joined  together,  and  see 
they  exactly  make  the  frame  of  a  house  or  a  mill,  all  the  tenons  and  mor- 
tices exactly  fitting,  and  all  the  lengths  and  proportions  of  the  different 
pieces  exactly  adapted  to  their  respective  places,  and  not  a  piece  too 
many  or  too  few — not  omitting  even  scaffolding — or,  if  a  single  piece  be 
lacking,  we  see  the  place  in  the  frame  exactly  fitted  and  prepared  yet 
to  bring  such  piece  in — in  such  a  case,  we  find  it  impossible  not  to 
believe  that  Stephen  and  Franklin  and  Roger  and  James  all  understood 
one  another  from  the  beginning,  and  all  worked  upon  a  common  plan  or 
draft  drawn  up  before  the  first  blow  was  struck. 

"It  should  not  be  overlooked  that,  by  the  Nebraska  bill,  the  people 
of  a  stale  as  well  as  territory,  were  to  be  left  'perfectly  free,'  'subject 
only  to  the  Constitution.'  WTiy  mention  a  state  ?  They  were  legisla- 
ting for  territories,  and  not  for  or  about  states.  Certainly  the  people 
of  a  state  are  and  ought  to  be  subject  to  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States;  but  why  is  mention  of  this  lugged  into  this  merely  territorial 
law?  Why  are  the  people  of  a  territory  and  the  people  of  a  state 
therein  lumped  together,  and  their  relation  to  the  Constitution  therein 
treated  as  being  precisely  the  same  ?  While  the  opinion  of  the  court, 
by  Chief  Justice  Taney,  in  the  Dred  Scott  case,  and  the  separate  opin- 
ions of  all  the  concurring  judges,  expressly  declare  that  the  Constitution 
of  the  United  States  neither  permits  Congress  nor  a  territorial  legisla- 
ture to  exclude  slavery  from  any  United  States  territory,  they  all  omit 
to  declare  whether  or  not  the  same  Constitution  permits  a  state,  or 
the  people  of  a  state,  to  exclude  it.  Possibly,  this  is  a  mere  omission ; 


but  who  can  be  quite  sure,  if  McLean  or  Curtis  had  sought  to  get  into 
the  opinion  a  declaration  of  unlimited,  power  in  the  people  of  a  state  to 
exclude  slavery  from  their  limits,  just  as  Chase  and  Mace  sought  to  get 
such  declaration,  in  behalf  of  the  people  of  a  territory,  into  the  Ne- 
braska bill; — I  ask,  who  can  be  quite  sure  that  it  would  not  have  been 
voted  down  in  the  one  case  as  it  had  been  in  the  other?  The  nearest 
approach  to  the  point  of  declaring  the  power  of  a  state  over  slavery,  is 
made  by  Judge  Nelson.  He  approaches  it  more  than  once,  using  the 
precise  idea,  and  almost  the  language,  too,  of  the  Nebraska  act.  On 
one  occasion,  his  exact  language  is,  'except  in  cases  where  the  power  is 
restrained  by  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States,  the  law  of  the 
state  is  supreme  over  the  subject  of  slavery  within  its  jurisdiction."  Jn 
what  cases  the  power  of  the  states  is  so  restrained  by  the  United  States 
Constitution,  is  left  an  open  question,  precisely  as  the  same  question 
as  to  the  restraint  on  the  power  of  the  territories  was  left  open  in  the 
Nebraska  act.  Put  this  and  that  together,  and  we  have^another  nice 
little  niche,  which  we  may,  ere  long,  see  filled  with  another  Supreme 
Court  decision,  declaring  that  the  Constitution  of  the  United  States 
does  not  permit  a  state  to  exclude  slavery  from  its  limits.  And  this  may 
especially  be  expected  if  the  doctrine  of  'care  not  whether  slavery  be 
voted  down  or  voted  up,'  shall  gain  upon  the  public  mind  sufficiently  to 
give  promise  that  such  a  decision  can  be  maintained  when  made. 

"  Such  a  decision  is  all  that  slavery  now  lacks  of  being  alike  lawful  in 
all  the  states.  Welcome,  or  unwelcome,  such  decision  is  probably  com- 
ing, and  will  soon  be  upon  us,  unless  the  power  of  the  present  political 
dynasty  shall  be  met  and  overthrown.  We  shall  lie  down  pleasantly 
dreaming  that  the  people  of  Missouri  are  on  the  verge  of  making  their 
state  free,  and  we  shall  awake  to  the  reality  instead,  that  the  Supreme 
Court  has  made  Illinois  a  slave  state.  To  meet  and  overthrow  the 
power  of  that  dynasty,  is  the  work  now  before  all  those  who  would 
prevent  that  consummation.  That  is  what  we  have  to  do.  How  can 
we  best  do  it? 

"  There  are  those  wrho  denounce  us  openly  to  their  own  friends,  and 
yet  whisper  us  softly  that  Senator  Douglas  is  the  aptest  instrument 
there  is  with  which  to  effect  that  object.  They  wish  us  to  infer  all,  from 
the  fact  that  he  now  has  a  little  quarrel  with  the  present  head  of  the 
dynasty;  and  that  he  has  regularly  voted  with  us  on  a  single  point, 
upon  which  he  and  we  have  never  differed.  They  remind  us  that  he  is 
a  great  man,  and  that  the  largest  of  us  are  very  small  ones.  Let  this 
be  granted.  But  '  a  living  dog  is  better  than  a  dead  lion.'  Judge 
Douglas,  if  not  a  dead  lion,  for  this  work,  is  at  least  a  caged  and  tooth- 
less one.  How  can  he  oppose  the  advances  of  slavery  ?  He  don't  care 
anything  about  it.  His  avowed  mission  is  impressing  the  'public  heart' 
to  care  nothing  about  it.  A  leading  Douglas  democratic  newspaper 


thinks  Douglas'  superior  talent  will  be  needed  to  resist  the  revival  of 
the  African  slave  trade.  Does  Douglas  believe  an  effort  to  revive  that 
trade  is  approaching  ?  He  has  not  said  so.  Does  he  really  think  so  ? 
But  if  it  is,  how  can  he  resist  it  ?  For  years  he  has  labored  to  prove  it 
a  sacred  right  of.  white  men  to  take  negro  slaves  into  the  new  territories. 
Can  he  possibly  show  that  it  is  less  a  sacred  right  to  buy  them  where 
they  can  be  bought  cheapest  ?  And  unquestionably  they  can  be  bought 
cheaper  in  Africa  than  in  Virginia.  He  has  done  all  in  his  power  to 
reduce  the  whole  question  of  slavery  to  one  of  a  mere  right  of  property ; 
and  as  such,  how  can  he  oppose  the  foreign  slave  trade — how  can  he 
refuse  that  trade  in  that '  property '  shall  be  '  perfectly  free ' — unless  he 
does  it  as  a  protection  to  the  home  production  V  '  And  as  the  home  pro- 
ducers Avill  probably  not  ask  the  protection,  he  will  be  wholly  without 
a  ground  of  opposition. 

"  Senator  Douglas  holds,  we  know,  that  a  man  may  rightfully  be  wiser 
to-day  than  he  was  yesterday— that  he  may  rightfully  change  when  he 
finds  himself  wrong.  But  can  we,  for  that  reason,  run  ahead,  and  infer 
that  he  will  make  any  particular  change  of  which  he  himself  has  given 
no  intimation?  Can  we  safely  base  our  action  upon  any  such  vague 
inference?  Now,  as  ever,  I  wish  not  to  misrepresent  Judge  Douglas' 
position,  question  his  motives,  or  do  aught  that  can  be  personally  offens- 
ive to  him.  Whenever,  if  ever,  he  and  we  can  come  together  on  prin- 
ciple so  that  our  cause  may  have  assistance  from  his  great  ability,  I  hope 
to  have  interposed  no  adventitious  obstacle.  But  clearly,  he  is  not  now 
with  us — he  does  not  pretend  to  be — he  does  not  promise  ever  to  be. 

"  Our  cause,  then,  must  be  intrusted  to,  and  conducted  by,  its  own 
undoubted  friends — those  whose  hands  are  free,  whose  hearts  are  in  the 
work — who  do  care  for  the  result.  Two  years  ago  the  Republicans  of 
the  nation  mustered  over  thirteen  hundred  thousand  strong.  We  did 
this  under  the  single  impulse  of  resistance  to  a  common  danger,  with 
every  external  circumstance  against  us.  Of  strange,  discordant,  and 
even  hostile  elements,  we  gathered  from  the  four  winds,  and  formed  and 
fought  the  battle  through,  under  the  constant  hot  fire  of  a  disciplined, 
proud  and  pampered  enemy  Did  we  brave  all  then,  to  falter  now  ? — 
now,  when  that  same  enemy  is  wavering,  dissevered  and  belligerent? 
The  result  is  not  doubtful.  We  shall  not  fail — if  we  stand  firm,  we 
shall  not  fail.  Wise  counsels  may  accelerate,  or  mistakes  delay  it,  but, 
sooner  or  later,  the  victory  is  sure  to  come." 

The  members  of  the  convention  carried  away  with  them 
something  to  think  about.  There  had  been  in  Mr.  Lincoln's 
speech  no  appeals  to  their  partisan  prejudices,  no  tricks  to 
catch  applause.  He  had  appeared  before  .them  as  an  earnest, 


patriotic  man,  intent  only  on  discussing,  in  the  gravest  and 
most  candid  manner,  the  most  interesting  and  momentous  po- 
litical questions. 

On  the  ninth  of  July,  Mr.  Douglas  made  a  speech  in  Chi- 
cago. The  reception  he  received  was  a  magnificent  one — one 
which  might  well  have  filled  him  with  the  gratification  which 
he  did  not  attempt  to  conceal — which,  indeed,  he  took  repeated 
occasion  to  express.  In  this  speech  he  alluded  to  his  efforts  to 
crush  the  Lecompton  fraud,  and  claimed  that  the  republicans 
who  had  fought  by  his  side  had  indorsed  his  popular  sover- 
eignty doctrine — the  right  of  the  people  of  a  territory  to  form 
their  own  institutions. 

He  then  took  up  the  action  of  the  republican  convention  at 
Springfield,  and  spoke  at  length  of  Mr.  Lincoln  and  his  speech. 
Of  Mr.  Lincoln,  he  said:  "I  take  great  pleasure  in  saying 
that  I  have  known,  personally  and  intimately,  for  about  a 
quarter  of  a  century,  the  worthy  gentleman  who  has  been 
nominated  for  my  place,  and  I  will  say  that  I  regard  him  as  a 
kind,  amiable  and  intelligent  gentleman,  a  good  citizen  and  an 
honorable  opponent;  and  whatever  issue  I  may  have  with  him 
will  be  of  principle  and  not  of  personalities."  He  then  read 
from  the  opening  paragraph  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  speech  the 
words :  "  A  house  divided  against  itself  cannot  stand.  I  be- 
lieve this  government  cannot  endure  permanently  half  slave 
and  half  free.  I  do  not  expect  the  Union  to  be  dissolved.  I 
do  not  expect  the  house  to  fall ;  but  I  do  expect  it  to  cease  to 
be  divided.  It  will  become  all  one  thing  or  all  the  other." 
The  unfairness  of  his  comments  upon  this  simple  statement  of 
a  conviction  may  be  gathered  from  the  construction  which  he 
put  upon  it  in  the  words — "  Mr.  Lincoln  advocates  boldly  and 
clearly  a  war  of  sections,  a  war  of  the  Xorth  against  the 
South,  of  the  free  states  against  the  slave  states,  a  war  of  ex- 
termination, to  be  continued  relentlessly,  until  the  one  or  the 
other  shall  be  subdued,  and  all  the  states  shall  either  become 
free  or  become  slave." 

Mr.  Lincoln  foresaw  the  approaching  struggle  between 
freedom  and  slavery  and  its  inevitable  result.  He  did  not  be- 


lieve  a  dissolution  of  the  Union  possible,  but  he  knew  that 
freedom  and  slavery  were  irreconcilable  enemies.  He  knew 
that  slavery  must  die,  or  become  national.  He  saw  the  de- 
termination of  its  friends  to  make  it  national,  and  he  believed 
that  this  attempt  would  succeed,  or  that,  failing  of  success,  it 
would  end  in  the  universal  abolition  of  slavery.  Events  have 
entirely  justified  his  most  philosophical  view  of  the  subject. 

The  next  point  that  Mr.  Douglas  endeavored'  to  make  was 
as  illegitimate  as  his  previous  one,  viz :  that  Mr.  Lincoln  de- 
sired to  reduce  the  states  to  a  dead  uniformity  of  interests  and 
institutions,  contrary  to  the  theory  and  policy  of  the  fathers 
of  the  republic.  In  order  to  do  this,  he  was  of  course  obliged 
to  ignore  the  fact  that  Mr.  Lincoln  had  alluded  to  but  one  in- 
stitution, and  that,  in  its  nature  antagonistic  with  the  principles 
of  the  Declaration  of  Independence,  and  to  recognize  slavery 
as  having  the  same  legitimate  basis  with  the  other  institutions 
of  the  country.  Having  construed  Mr.  Lincoln's  position 
unfairly,  he  logically  drove  to  the  unjust  conclusion  that  when 
the  uniformity  should  be  attained  which  Mr.  Lincoln  desired, 
the  government  would  have  "  converted  these  thirty-two  sov- 
ereign, independent  states,  into  one  consolidated  empire,  with 
the  uniformity  of  disposition  reigning  triumphant  throughout 
the  length  and  breadth  of  the  land." 

He  next  took  up  Mr.  Lincoln's  criticism  of  the  Dred  Scott 
decision,  and,  by  his  treatment  of  it,  fully  vindicated  the  ac- 
tion of  the  Illinois  republicans  in  their  refusal  to  support  him 
in  accordance  with  the  wishes  of  their  eastern  friends.  No 
republican  could  consistently  support  a  man  who  supported 
that  iniquitous  and  barbarous  decision.  If  it  is  said  that  his 
course  on  this  question  would  have  been  changed  by  their 
support,  the  case  is  still  worse,  for  no  man  whose  course  could 
be  changed  by  such  considerations  would  be  worthy  of  the 
support  of  any  party.  "  I  am  opposed  to  this  doctrine  of  Mr. 
Lincoln,"  said  Mr.  Douglas,  "by  which  he  proposes  to  take 
an  appeal  from  the  decision  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  the 
United  States  upon  this  high  constitutional  question,  to  a  re- 
publican caucus  sitting  in  the  country.  *  *  *  I  respect  the 


decisions  of  that  august  tribunal ;  I  shall  always  bow  in  def- 
erence to  them.  *  *  *  I  will  sustain  the  judicial  tribunals  and 
constituted  authorities,  in  all  matters  within  the  pale  of  their 
jurisdiction,  as  defined  by  the  Constitution/'  Mr.  Douglas  did 
not  see  fit  to  allude  in  this  speech  to  Mr.  Lincoln's  charge  that 
the  Dred  Scott  decision  was  a  part  of  that  building  framed  so 
cunningly  by  "  Stephen,  Franklin,  Roger  and  James,"  in  which 
was  to  be  conserved  the  power  of  making  slavery  universal. 
Mr.  Douglas  went  farther  than  simply  to  indorse  the  Dred 
Scott  decision,  and  to  declare  his  intention  to  sustain  it.  "  I 
am  equally  free,"  said  he,  "  to  say  that  the  reason  assigned  by 
Mr.  Lincoln  for  resisting  the  decision  of  the  Supreme  Court 
in  the  Dred  Scott  case  does  not,  in  itself,  meet  my  approba- 
tion. *  *  He  says  it  is  wrong,  because  it  deprives  the  negro 
of  the  benefit  of  that  clause  of  the  Constitution  which  says 
that  the  citizens  of  one  state  shall  enjoy  all  the  privileges  and 
immunities  of  the  citizens  of  the  several  states ;  in  other 
words,  he  thinks  it  wrong  because  it  deprives  the  negro  of 
the  privileges,  immunities  and  rights  of  citizenship  which 
pertain,  according  to  that  decision,  only  to  the  white  man. 
I  am  free  to  say  to  you  that,  in  my  opinion,  this  government 
of  ours  is  founded  on  the  white  basis.  It  was  made  for  the 
white  man,  for  the  benefit  of  the  white  man,  to  be  administered 
by  white  men,  in  such  manner  as  they  should  determine.  It 
is  also  true  that  a  negro,  an  indian,  or  any  other  man  of  infe- 
rior race  to  a  white  man  should  be  permitted  to  enjoy,  and 
humanity  requires  that  he  should  have,  all  the  rights,  privi- 
leges and  immunities  which  he  is  capable  of  exei'cising,  con- 
sistent with  the  safety  of  society."  What  these  rights  should 
be,  was  only  legitimately  to  be  determined  by  the  states  them- 
selves, in  Mr.  Douglas'  opinion.  Illinois  had  decided  for 
herself  what  the  black  man's  rights  were  in  Illinois,  and  Xew 
York  and  Maine  had  decided  for  themselves.  By  inference, 
Kentucky  had  a  right  to  say  her  negroes  should  be  slaves, 
Illinois  that  her  negroes  should  not  vote,  New  York  that  her 
negroes  might  vote  when  qualified  by  property,  and  Maine 
that  the  negro  was  equal  at  the  polls  to  the  white  man. 


These  were  the  main  points  that  Mr.  Douglas  made  in  his 
Chicago  speech.  Mr.  Lincoln  sat  near  him,  on  the  platform, 
and  heard  the  whole  of  it.  Here,  as  elsewhere  during  the 
campaign  which  succeeded,  he  manifested  his  wonderful  good 
nature  under  misrepresentation.  There  were  incidents  of  this 
campaign  which  no  man  cast  in  the  common  mould  could  have 
passed  through  without  yielding  to  the  severest  passions  of 
indignation  and  anger.  He  was  belied,  abused,  misrepre- 
sented ;  but  he  never  betrayed  a  moment's  irritation.  That 
he  smarted  with  a  sense  of  wrong,  there  is  abundant  evidence ; 
but  he  was  never  moved  to  a  single  act  of  resentment.  \ 

Mr.  Lincoln  had  taken  the  speech  all  in,  and,  on  the  follow- 
ing evening,  it  was  announced  that  he  would  reply  to  it.  The 
greeting  which  he  received  when  he  took  the  stand  was  quite 
as  enthusiastic  as  that  which  Mr.  Douglas  had  mej;  on  the 
previous  evening.  He  was  introduced  to  the  audience  by 
Mr.  C.  L.  Wilson  of  Chicago,  and  when  he  came  forward, 
there  was  such  a  storm  of  long-continued  applause  that  he 
was  obliged  to  extend  his  hand  in  deprecation,  before  he  could 
secure  the  silence  necessary  for  proceeding.  After  disposing 
of  some  minor  matters,  he  took  up  the  points  of  Mr.  Douglas' 
speech  and  treated  them  fully.  Touching  the  comments  upon 
his  own  declaration — "  a  house  divided  against  itself  cannot 
stand.  I  believe  this  government  cannot  endure  permanently 
half  slave  and  half  free,"  &c.,  he  said : 

"I  am  not,  in  the  first  place,  unaware  that  this  Government  has  en- 
dured eighty-two  years,  half  slave  and  half  free.  I  know  that.  I  am 
tolerably  well  acquainted  with  the  history  of  the  country,  and  I  know 
that  it  has  endured  eighty-two  years,  half  slave  and  half  free.  I  believe — 
and  that  is  what  I  meant  to  allude  to  there — I  believe  it  has  endured, 
because  during  all  that  time,  until  the  introduction  of  the  Nebraska 
bill,  the  public  mind  did  rest  all  the  time  in  the  belief  that  slavery  was 
in  course  of  ultimate  extinction.  That  was  what  gave  us  the  rest  that 
we  had  through  that  period  of  eighty-two  years ;  at  least,  so  I  believe. 
I  have  always  hated  slavery,  I  think,  as  much  as  any  abolitionist — I 
have  been  an  old  line  whig — I  have  always  hated  it,  but  I  have  always 
been  quiet  about  it  until  this  new  era  of  the  introduction  of  the  Ne- 
braska bill  began.  I  always  believed  that  everybody  was  against  it, 
and  that  it  was  in  course  of  ultimate  extinction. 


"  The  adoption  of  the  Constitution  and  its  attendant  history  led  the 
people  to  believe  so ;  and  such  was  the  belief  of  the  framers  of  the 
Constitution  itself,  else  why  did  those  old  men,  about  the  time  of  the 
adoption  of  the  Constitution,  decree  that  slavery  should  not  go  into 
the  new  territory,  where  it  had  not  already  gone  V  Why  declare  that 
•within  twenty  years  the  African  slave  trade,  by  which  slaves  are  sup- 
plied, might  be  cut  off  by  Congress  ?  Why  were  all  these  acts  ?  I 
might  enumerate  more  of  these  acts — but  enough.  What  were  they 
but  a  clear  indication  that  the  framers  of  the  Constitution  intended 
and  expected  the  ultimate  extinction  of  that  institution  V  And  now, 
when  I  say,  as  I  said  in  my  speech  that  Judge  Douglas  has  quoted 
from — when  I  say  that  I  think  the  opponents  of  slavery  will  resist  the 
farther  spread  of  it,  and  place  it  where  the  public  mind  shall  rest  with 
the  belief  that  it  is  in  course  of  ultimate  extinction,  I  only  mean  to 
say  that  they  will  place  it  where  the  founders  of  this  Government  orig- 
inally placed  it. 

"I  have  said  a  hundred  times,  and  I  have  now  no  inclination  to  take 
it  back,  tkat  I  believe  there  is  no  right,  and  ought  to  be  no  inclination 
in  the  people  of  the  free  states  to  enter  into  the  slave  states,  and  inter- 
fere with  the  question  of  slavery  at  all.  I  have  said  that  always ;  Judge 
Douglas  has  heard  me  say  it — if  not  quite  a  hundred  times,  at  least  as 
good  as  a  hundred  times ;  and  when  it  is  said  that  I  am  in  favor  of 
interfering  with  slavery  where  it  exists,  I  know  it  is  unwarranted  by 
anything  I  have  ever  intended,  and,  as  I  believe,  by  anything  I  have 
ever  said.  If,  by  any  means,  I  have  ever  used  language  which  could 
fairly  be  so  construed  (as,  however,  I  believe  I  never  have),  I  now  cor- 
rect it." 

The  next  point  touched  upon  was  Judge  Douglas'  charge 
that  Mr.  Lincoln  was  in  favor  of  reducing  the  institutions  of 
all  the  states  to  uniformity: 

"  Now  in  relation  to  his  inference  that  I  am  in  favor  of  a  general 
consolidation  of  all  the  local  institutions  of  the  various  states.  I  will 
attend  to  that  for  a  little  while,  and  try  to  inquire,  if  I  can,  how  on 
earth  it  could  be  that  any  man  could  draw  such  an  inference  from  any- 
thing I  said.  I  have  said,  very  many  times,  in  Judge  Douglas'  hearing, 
that  no  man  believed  more  than  I  in  the  principle  of  self-government; 
that  it  lies  at  the  bottom  of  all  my  ideas  of  just  government,  from  be- 
ginning to  end.  I  have  denied  that  his  use  of  that  term  applies  properly. 
But  for  the  thing  itself,  I  deny  that  any  man  has  ever  gone  ahead  of  me 
in  his  devotion  to  the  principle,  whatever  he  may  have  done  in  efficiency 
in  advocating  it.  I  think  that  I  have  said  it  in  your  hearing — that  I 
belLeve  each  individual  is  naturally  entitled  to  do  as  he  pleases  with 


himself  and  the  fruit  of  his  labor,  so  far  as  it  in  no  wise  interferes  with 
any  other  man's  rights — that  each  community,  as  a  state,  has  a  right  to 
do  exactly  as  it  pleases  with  all  the  concerns  within  that  state  that 
interferes  with  the  right  of  no  other  state,  and  that  the  general  govern- 
ment, upon  principle,  has  no  right  to  interfere  with  anything  other  than 
that  general  class  of  things  that  does  concern  the  whole.  I  have  said 
that  at  all  times.  I  have  said  as  illustrations,  that  I  do  not  believe 
in  the  right  of  Illinois  to  interfere  with  the  cranberry  laws  of  Indi- 
ana, the  oyster  laws  of  Virginia,  or  the  liquor  laws  of  Maine.  I  have 
said  these  things  over  and  over  again,  and  I  repeat  them  here  as  my 

"  How  is  it,  then,  that  Judge  Douglas  infers,  because  I  hope  to  see 
slavery  put  where  the  public  mind  shall  rest  in  the  belief  that  it  is  in 
the  course  of  ultimate  extinction,  that  I  am  in  favor  of  Illinois  going 
over  and  interfering  with  the  cranberry  laws  of  Indiana  ?  What  can 
authorize  him  to  draw  any  such  inference  ?  I  suppose  there  might  be 
.one  thing  that  at  least  enabled  him  to  draw  such  an  inference  that  would 
not  be  true  with  me  or  many  others,  that  is,  because  he  looks  upon  all 
this  matter  of  slavery  as  an  exceedingly  little  thing — this  matter  of 
keeping  one-sixth  of  the  population  of  the  whole  nation  in  a  state  of 
oppression  and  tyranny  unequaled  in  the  world.  He  looks  upon  it  as 
being  an  exceedingly  little  thing — only  equal  to  the  question  of  the 
cranberry  laws  of  Indiana — as  something  having  no  moral  question  in 
it — as  something  on  a  par  with  the  question  of  whether  a  man  shall 
pasture  his  land  with  cattle,  or  plant  it  with  tobacco — so  little  and  so 
small  a  thing,  that  he  concludes,  if  I  could  desire  that  if  anything  should 
be  done  to  bring  about  the  ultimate  extinction  of  that  little  thing,  I 
must  be  in  favor  of  bringing  about  an  amalgamation  of  all  the  other 
little  things  in  the  Union.  Now,  it  so  happens — and  there,  I  presume, 
is  the  foundation  of  this  mistake — that  the  Judge  thinks  thus;  and  it  so 
happens  that  there  is  a  vast  portion  of  the  American  people  that  do  not 
look  upon  that  matter  as  being,this  very  little  thing.  They  look  upon, 
it  as  a  vast  moral  evil;  they  dan  prove  it  such  by  the  writings  of 
those  who  gave  us  the  blessings  of  liberty  which  we  enjoy,  and  that 
they  so  looked  upon  it,  not  as  an  evil  merely  confining  itself  to  the 
states  where  it  is  situated;  and  while  we  agree  that,  by  the  Constitution 
we  assented  to,  in  the  states  where  it  exists  we  have  no  right  to  interfere 
with  it,  because  it  is  in  the  Constitution ;  we  are  by  both  duty  and  in- 
clination to  stick  by  that  Constitution,  in  all  its  letter  and  spirit,  from 
beginning  to  end. 

"  So  much  then  as  to  my  disposition — my  wish — to  have  all  the  state 
legislatures  blotted  out,  and  to  have  one  consolidated  government,  and 
a  uniformity  of  domestic  regulations  in  all  the  states  by  which  I  suppose 
it  is  meant,  if  we  raise  corn  here,  we  must  make  sugar-cane  grow  here 


too,  and  we  must  make  those  which  grow  North  grow  in  the  South. 
All  this  I  suppose  he  understands  I  am  in  favor  of  doing.  Now,  so 
much  for  all  this  nonsense — for  I  must  call  it  so.  The  Judge  can  have 
no  issue  with  me  on  a  question  of  establishing  uniformity  in  the  domes- 
tic regulations  of  the  states." 

Concerning  the  Dred  Scott  decision  he  said : 

"I  have  expressed  heretofore,  and  I  now  repeat,  my  opposition  to  the 
Dred  Scott  decision,  but  I  should  be  allowed  to  state  the  nature  of  that 
opposition,  and  I  ask  your  indulgence  while  I  do  so.  What  is  fairly  im- 
plied by  the  term  Judge  Douglas  has  used,  'resistance  to  the  decision?' 
I  do  not  resist  it.  If  I  wanted  to  take  Dred  Scott  from  his  master,  I 
would  be  interfering  with  property,  and  that  terrible  difficulty  that 
Judge  Douglas  speaks  of,  of  interfering  with  property  would  arise. 
But  I  am  doing  no  such  thing  as  that,  but  all  that  I  am  doing  is  refus- 
ing to  obey  it  as  a  political  rule.  If  I  were  in  Congress,  and  a  vote 
should  come  up  on  a  question  whether  slavery  should  be  prohibited  in 
a  new  territory,  in  spite  of  the  Dred  Scott  decision,  I  would  vote  that 
it  should. 

"  That  is  what  I  would  do.  Judge  Douglas  said  last  night,  that 
before  the  decision  he  might  advance  his  opinion,  and  it  might  be 
contrary  to  the  decision  when  it  was  made  ;  but  after  it  was  made  he 
would  abide  by  it  until  it  was  reversed.  Just  so !  We  let  this  prop- 
erty abide  by  the  decision,  but  we  will  try  to  reverse  that  decision. 
We  will  try  to  put  it  where  Judge  Douglas  would  not  object,  for  he 
says  he  will  obey  it  until  it  is  reversed.  Somebody  has  to  reverse  that 
decision,  since  it  is  made,  and  we  mean  to  reverse  it,  and  we  mean  to  do 
it  peaceably. 

"  What  are  the  uses  of  decisions  of  courts  V  They  have  two  uses. 
As  rules  of  property  they  have  two  uses.  First — they  decide  upon  the 
question  before  the  court.  They  decide  in  this  case  that  Dred  Scott  is 
a  slave.  Nobody  resists  that.  Not  only  that,  but  they  say  to  every- 
body else,  that  persons  standing  just  as  Dred  Scott  stands,  is  as  he  is. 
That  is,  they  say  that  when  a  question  comes  up  upon  another  person, 
it  will  be  so  decided  again,  unless  the  court  decides  in  another  way, 
unless  the  court  overrules  its  decision.  Well,  we  mean  to  do  what  we 
can  to  have  the  court  decide  the  other  way.  That  is  one  thing  we  mean 
to  try  to  do. 

"  The  sacredness  that  Judge  Douglas  throws  around  this  decision,  is 
a  degree  of  sacredness  that  has  never  been  before  thrown  around  any 
other  decision.  I  have  never  heard  of  such  a  thing.  Why,  decisions 
apparently  contrary  to  that  decision,  or  that  good  lawyers  thought  were 
contrary  to  that  decision,  have  been  made  by  that  very  court  before. 


It  is  the  first  of  its  kind ;  it  is  an  astonisher  in  legal  history.  It  is  a 
new  wonder  of  the  world.  It  is  based  upon  falsehood  in  the  main  as 
to  the  facts — allegations  of  facts  upon  which  it  stands  are  not  facts 
at  all  in  many  instances — and  no  decision  made  on  any  question — the 
first  instance  of  a  decision  made  under  so  many  unfavorable  circum- 
stances— thus  placed,  has  ever  been  held  by  the  profession  as  law, 
and  it  has  always  needed  confirmation  before  the  lawyers  regarded 
it  as  settled  law.  But  Judge  Douglas  will  have  it  that  all  hands  must 
take  this  extraordinary  decision,  made  under  these  extraordinary  cir- 
cumstances, and  give  their  vote  in  Congress  in  accordance  with  it, 
yield  to  it  and  obey  it  in  every  possible  sense.  Circumstances  alter 
cases.  Do  not  gentlemen  here  remember  the  case  of  that  same  Su- 
preme Court,  some  twenty-five  or  thirty  years  ago,  deciding  that  a 
national  bank  was  constitutional  ?  I  ask,  if  somebody  does  not  re- 
member that  a  national  bank  was  declared  to  be  constitutional?  Such 
is  the  truth,  whether  it  be  remembered  or  not.  .  The  bank  charter  ran 
out,  and  a  re-charter  was  granted  by  Congress.  That  re-charter  was 
laid  before  General  Jackson.  It  was  urged  upon  him,  when  he  denied 
the  constitutionality  of  the  bank  that  the  Supreme  Court  had  decided 
was  constitutional;  and  General  Jackson  then  said  that  the  Supreme 
Court  had  no  right  to  lay  down  a  rule  to  govern  a  co-ordinate  branch 
of  the  Government,  the  members  of  which  had  sworn  to  support  the 
Constitution — that  each  member  had  sworn  to  support  that  Constitu- 
tion as  he  understood  it.  I  will  venture  here  to  say,  that  I  have  heard 
Judge  Douglas  say  that  he  approved  of  General  Jackson  for  that  act. 
What  has  now  become  of  all  his  tirade  about  'resistance  to  the  Su- 
preme Court?'" 

There  were  some  passages  in  this  speech  which  illustrated 
Mr.  Lincoln's  readiness  in  "  putting  things  "  to  the  common 
apprehension.  After  having  said  that  the  much  vaunted 
"  popular  sovereignty  "  which  Mr.  Douglas  had  put  forth  as 
his  own  invention  was  something  which,  when  properly  de- 
fined, the  republicans  had  always  accepted  and  acted  upon, 
and  that  it  came,  not  from  Judge  Douglas,  but  from  the 
Declaration  of  Independence,  which  states  that  governments 
derive  their  just  powers  "  from  the  consent  of  the  governed," 
he  alluded  to  the  defeat  of  the  Lecompton  Constitution  in 
Congress.  He  said  that  the  republicans  took  ground  against 
the  Lecompton  Constitution  long  before  Judge  Douglas  did, 
and  that  he  held  in  his  hand  a  speech  in  which  he  urged  the 


same  reason  against  Douglas  the  year  before  that  he  (Doug- 
las) was  urging  now.     He  went  on : 

"  A  little  more,  now,  as  to  this  matter  of  popular  sovereignty  and  the 
Lecompton  Constitution.  The  Lecompton  Constitution,  as  the  Judge 
tells  us,  was  defeated.  The  defeat  of  it  was  a  good  thing,  or  it  was  not. 
He  thinks  the  defeat  of  it  was  a  good  thing,  and  so  do  I,  and  we  agree 
in  that.  Who  defeated  it  ? 

"  A  voice — '  Judge  Douglas.' 

"  Mr.  Lincoln — Yes,  he  furnished  himself,  and,  if  you  suppose  he  fur- 
nished the  other  democrats  that  went  with  him,  he  furnished  three  votes, 
while  the  republicans  furnished  twenty.  That  is  what  he  did  to  defeat 
it.  In  the  House  of  Representatives  he  and  his  friends  furnished  some 
twenty  votes  and  the  republicans  ninety  odd.  Now  who  was  it  that 
did  the  work  ? 

"  A  voice — '  Douglas.' 

"  Mr.  Lincoln — Why,  yes,  Douglas  did  it.  To  be  sure  he  did.  Let 
us,  however,  put  that  proposition  another  way.  The  republicans  could 
not  have  done  it  without  Judge  Douglas.  Could  he  have  done  it  with- 
out them  ?  Which  could  have  come  the  nearest  to  doing  it  without 
the  other?" 

The  following  point  was  so  neatly  made  that  it  drew  from 
the  house  three  hearty  cheers : 

"  We  were  often — more  than  once  at  least — in  the  course  of  Judge 
Douglas'  speech  last  night,  reminded  that  this  government  was  made 
for  white  men — that  he  believed  it  was  made  for  white  men.  Well,  that 
is  putting  it  into  a  shape  in  which  no  one  wants  to  deny  it ;  but  the 
Judge  then  goes  into  his  passion  for  drawing  inferences  that  are  npt 
warranted.  I  protest,  now  and  forever,  against  that  coitnterfeit  logic 
which  presumes  that  because  I  do  not  want  a  negro  woman  for  a  slave, 
I  do  necessarily  want  her  for  a  wife.  My  understanding  is  that  I  need 
not  have  her  for  either,  but,  as  God  made  us  separate,  we  can  leave  one 
another  alone,  and  do  one  another  much  good  thereby.  There  are 
white  men  enough  to  marry  all  the  white  women,  and  enough  black 
men  to  marry  all  the  black  women,  and  in  God's  name  let  them  be  so 
married.  The  Judge  regales  us  with  the  terrible  enormities  that  take 
place  by  the  mixture  of  races ;  that  the  inferior  race  bears  the  superior 
down.  Why,  Judge,  if  we  do  not  let  them  get  together  in  the  territo- 
ries they  won't  mix  there." 

And  thus  was  opened  the  grand  senatorial  campaign  of 
1858.  Mr.  Douglas  had  not  been  present  at  Mr.  Lincoln's 


speech,  a  fact  which  Mr.  Lincoln  regretted,  and  he  soon  took 
measures  to  secure  his  attendance.  In  the  meantime,  the 
campaign  went  on.  Mr.  Douglas  spoke  a  week  later  at 
Blooming-ton,  making  much,  as  usual,  of  his  doctrine  of  pop- 
ular sovereignty,  and  of  his  rebellion  against  the  administra- 
tion on  the  Lecompton  question.  Mr.  Lincoln's  original 
Springfield  speech  came  in  for  comment,  particularly  the  two 
points  which  he  criticised  at  Chicago.  Mr.  Lincoln  was 
present  on  this  occasion  also,  determined  to  find  out  the  exact 
ground  of  his  antagonist,  that  he  might  be  able  to  meet  him 
in  the  struggle  which  he  had  determined  upon.  On  the  day 
following  his  Bloomington  speech,  Mr.  Douglas  spoke  at 
Springfield,  as  did  also  Mr.  Lincoln,  though  not  at  the  same 
meeting.  Mr.  Lincoln,  in  opening  his  speech,  alluded  to  the 
disadvantages  which  the  republicans  of  the  state  labored 
under  in  the  unjust  apportionment  of  the  legislative  districts, 
and  particularly  in  the  disparity  that  existed  between  the 
reputation  and  prospects  of  the  senatorial  candidates  of  the 
two  parties.  All  the  anxious  politicians  of  the  party  of  Mr. 
Douglas  had  been  looking  upon  him  as  certain,  at  no  distant 
day,  to  be  the  President  of  the  United  States.  "They  have 
seen,"  he  said,  "in  his  round,  jolly,  fruitful  face,  post-offices, 
land-offices,  marshalships  and  cabinet  appointments,  charge- 
ships  and  foreign  missions,  bursting  and  sprouting  out,  in 
wonderful  luxuriance,  ready  to  be  laid  hold  of  by  their  greedy 
hands.  And  as  they  have  been  gazing  upon  this  attractive 
picture  so  long,  they  cannot,  in  the  little  distraction  that  has 
taken  place  in  the  party,  bring  themselves  to  give  up  the 
charming  hope;  but  with  greedier  anxiety  they  rush  about 
him,  sustain  him,  and  give  him  marches,  triumphal  entries 
and  receptions,  beyond  what,  even  in  the  days  of  his  highest 
prosperity,  they  could  have  brought  about  in  his  favor.  On 
the  contrary,  nobody  has  ever  expected  me  to  be  president. 
In  my  poor,  lean,  lank  face  nobody  has  ever  seen  that  any 
cabbages  were  sprouting  out."  The  main  body  of  the  speech 
was  devoted  to  the  questions  at  issue  between  him  and  Judge 
Douglas,  and  does  not  contain  matter  of  special  interest  beyond 


what  he  had  previously  uttered  upon  the  same  points.  He 
closed  by  reiterating  the  charge  made  in  his  speech  of  June 
seventeenth  that  Mr-.  Douglas  was  a  party  to  the  conspiracy 
for  deceiving  the  people  with  the  idea  that  the  settlers  of 
a  territory  could  exclude  slavery  from  their  limits  if  they 
should  choose  to  do  so,  and,  at  the  same  time,  rendering  it  im- 
possible for  them  to  do  so  through  the  standing  veto  of  the 
Dred  Scott  decision.  The  charge  was  a  grave  one,  but  Mr. 
Douglas  had  ignored  it.  Since  it  was  made,  he  had  not 
alluded  to  it  at  all.  "On  his  own  tacit  admission,'''  said  Mr. 
Lincoln,  "I  renew  the  charge." 


MR.  LINCOLN  wanted  closer  work  than  Mr.  Douglas  had 
given  him.  He  desired  to  address  the  same  audiences  with 
his  antagonist,  and  to  show  to  those  whom  he  addressed  the 


fallacy  of  his  reasoning  and  the  groundlessness  of  his  charges,. 
Accordingly,  on  the  twenty-fourth  of  July,  he  dispatched  the 
following  note: — 

"Hox.  S.  A.  DOUGLAS — My  Dear  Sir:  Will  it  be  agreeable  to  you 
to  make  an  arrangement  for  you  and  myself  to  divide  time,  and  address 
the  same  audiences  the  present  canvass  V  Mr.  Judd,  who  will  hand  you 
this,  is  authorized  to  receive  your  answer;  and,  if  agreeable  to  you,  to 
enter  into  the  terms  of  such  arrangement. 

"  Your  obedient  servant,  A,  LINCOLN." 

To  this  Mr.  Douglas  replied,  stating  that  recent  events  had 
interposed  difficulties  in  the  way  of  such  an  arrangement.  In 
connection  with  the  State  Central  Committee  at  Springfield, 
he  had  made  a  series  of  appointments  extending  over  nearly 
the  whole  period  that  remained  before  the  election,  and  the 
people  of  the  various  localities  had  been  notified  of  the  times 
and  places  of  the  meetings.  The  candidates  for  Congress,  the 
legislature  and  other  offices  would  desire  to  speak  at  these 
meetings,  and  thus  all  the  time  would  be  occupied.  Then  he 
proceeded  to  give,  as  a  further  reason  for  his  refusal,  that  it 
was  intended  to  bring  out  another  candidate  for  United  States 
senator,  to  divide  the  democratic  vote  for  the  benefit  of  Mr. 
Lincoln,  and  that  he  (the  third  candidate)  would  also  claim  a 


chance  In  the  joint  debates,  so  that  he  (said  third  candidate) 
and  Mr.  Lincoln  would  have  the  opening  and  closing  speech 
in  every  instance.  AVhile,  therefore,  he  declined  the  general 
invitation,  he  declared  himself  ready  to  make  an  arrangement 
for  seven  joint  debates  in  the  congressional  districts  respect- 
ively where  they  had  not  already  spoken,  and  at  the  follow- 
ing places,  viz :  Freeport,  Ottawa,  Galesburg,  Quincy,  Alton, 
Jonesboro  and  Charleston.  This  letter  was  published  in  the 
Chicago  Times,  and  read  there  by  Mr.  Lincoln  before  he  re- 
ceived the  autograph  by  mail. 

To  this  letter  Mr.  Lincoln  responded,  denying,  of  course, 
the  foolish  charge  of  intended  unfairness  in  bringing  in  a  third 
candidate  to  divide  the  time  to  the  disadvantage  of  Mr.  Doug- 
las, and  agreeing  to  speak  in  the  seven  places  mentioned. 
There  is  other  matter  in  these  letters*  which  thoroughly 
discovers  the  characteristics  of  the  two  writers,  but  it  must  be 
left  behind. 

Mr.  Douglas  replied  to  this  second  letter  of  Mr.  Lincoln, 
designating  the  time  and  places  of  the  debate  as  they  follow : 

Ottawa,  LaSalle  County,  August  21st,  1858;  Freeport,  Stephenson 
County,  August  27th;  Jonesboro,  Union  County,  September  15th; 
Charleston,  Coles  County,  September  18th ;  Galesburg,  Knox  County, 
October  7th;  Quincy,  Adarns  County,  October  13th;  Alton,  Madison 
County,  October  15th. 

The  terms  proposed  in  this  letter  and  accepted  in  a  subse- 
quent note  by  Mr.  Lincoln,  were,  that  at  Ottawa,  Mr.  Doug- 
las should  speak  an  hour,  then  Mr.  Lincoln  an  hour  and  a 
half,  Mr.  Douglas  having  the  closing  speech  of  half  an  hour. 
At  the  next  place,  Mr.  Lincoln  should  open  and  close  in  the 
same  way,  and  so  on,  alternately,  to  the  conclusion  of  the  ar- 

As  about  three  weeks  intervened  between  the  date  of  this 
agreement  for  joint  debates  and  the  first  appointment,  both 
parties  engaged  zealously  in  their  independent  work.  Mr. 

*  Political  debates  between  Hon.  Abraham  Lincoln  and  Hon.  Stephen 
A.  Douglas,  (Follett,  Foster  &  Co.,)  pages  64  and  65. 


Lincoln  began  his  canvass  at  Beardstown,  the  spot  where, 
twenty-five  years  before,  he  had  taken  his  military  company 
for  rendezvous  before  starting  out  for  the  Black  Hawk  war. 
After  making  a  speech  here,  he  went  up  the  Illinois  River  to 
Havana  and  Bath  in  Mason  County,  to  Lewistown  and  Can- 
ton in  Fulton  County,  and  to  Peoria  and  Henry  in  Marshall 
County,  making  speeches  at  each  place,  and  attracting  im- 
mense audiences.  Mr.  Douglas  was  equally  busy,  and  equally 
fortunate  in  attracting  the  people  to  listen  to  his  utterances 
upon  the  great  questions  of  the  day.  At  Clinton,  in  DeWitt 
County,  he  found  it  no  longer  possible  to  pass  in  silence  the 
charge  of  Mr.  Lincoln  that  he  had  "  left  a  niche  in  the  Ne- 
braska bill  to  receive  the  Dred  Scott  decision,"  which  declared 
in  effect,  that  a  territorial  legislature  could  not  abolish  slavery. 
Mr.  Douglas  here  stated  that  his  self-respect  alone  prevented 
him  from  calling  this  charge  a  falsehood.  Subsequently,  at 
Beardstown,  he  broke  over  his  restraints,  and  called  it  "  an 
infamous  lie."  To  this  Mr.  Lincoln  responded  on  a  subse- 
quent occasion  as  follows: 

"  I  say  to  you,  gentlemen,  that  It  would  be  more  to  the  purpose  for 
Judge  Douglas  to  say  that  he  did  not  repeal  the  Missouri  compromise; 
that  he  did  not  make  slavery  possible  where  it  was  impossible  before; 
that  he  did  not  leave  a  niche  in  the  Nebraska  bill  for  the  Dred 'Scott 
decision  to  rest  in ;  that  he  did  not  vote  down  a  clause  giving  the  peo- 
ple the  right  to  exclude  slavery  if  they  wanted  to;  that  he  did  not  refuse 
to  give  his  individual  opinion,  whether  a  territorial  legislature  could  ex- 
clude slavery;  that  he  did  not  make  a  report  to  the  senate  in  which  he 
said  that  the  rights  of  the  people  in  this  regard  were  held  in  abeyance, 
and  could  not  be  immediately  exercised;  that  he  did  not  make  a  hasty 
indorsement  of  the  Dred  Scott  decision  over  at  Springfield ;  that  he 
does  not  now  indorse  that  decision;  that  that  decision  does  not  take 
away  from  the  territorial  legislature  the  power  to  exclude  slavery;  and 
that  he  did  not  in  the  original  Nebraska  bill  so  couple  the  words '  state ' 
and '  territory '  together  that  what  the  Supreme  Court  has  done  in  forcing 
open  all  the  territories  for  slavery,  it  may  yet  do  in  forcing  open  all  the 
states ; — I  say  it  would  be  vastly  more  to  the  point,  for  Judge  Douglas 
to  say  he  did  not  do  some  of  these  things,  did  not  forge  some  of  these 
links  of  overwhelming  testimony,  than  to  go  to  vociferating  about  the 
country  that  possibly  he  may  be  obliged  to  hint  that  somebody  is  a  liar." 


The  first  meeting  of  the  series  agreed  upon  was  held  at 
Ottawa  according  to  appointment.  A  concourse  of  citizens 
estimated  at  twelve  thousand  had  assembled.  Mr.  Douglas 


had  the  opening  speech,  and  in  this  speech  he  resorted  to  an 
expedient  for  placing  Mr.  Lincoln  on  the  defensive  which  was 
either  very  weak,  or  very  wicked.  He  made  a  charge  against 
Mr.  Lincoln  which,  if  he  knew  it  to  be  false,  was  foul,  and 
which,  if  he  did  not  know  to  be  true,  was  most  impolitic.  He 
charged  that  Mr.  Lincoln,  on  the  part  of  the  whigs,  and  Mr. 
Trumbull,  on  the  part  of  the  democrats,  entered  into  an  ar- 
rangement in  1854,  for  the  dissolution  of  the  two  parties,  and 
the  fusing  of  both  in  the  republican  party,  for  the  purpose  of 
giving  Lincoln  Shields'  place  in  the  Senate,  and  Trumbull, 
his  (Douglas')  own.  xFurthermore,  that  the  parties  met  at 
Springfield  in  October  of  that  year,  and,  in  convention  of  their 
friends,  laid  down  a  platform  of  the  principle:-)  upon  which  the 
new  party  was  constructed.  He  then  proceeded  to  read  what 
he  called  "the  most  important  and  material  resolutions  of  the 
abolition  platform."  What  these  resolutions  wrere,  will  appear 
in  Mr.  Lincoln's  replies  to  the  questions  which  Mr.  Douglas 
based  upon  them.  His  object  in  asking  these  questions  was, 
as  he  said,  in  order  that  when  he  should  "  trot  him  (Lincoln) 
down  "  to  lower  Egypt  (southern  Illinois)  he  might  put  the 
same  questions  to  him  there. 

The  hearty  reception  which  the  audience  gave  to  the  prin- 
ciples of  this  platform  as  he  pronounced  them,  did  not  please 
Mr.  Douglas.  He  wished  to  see  whether  they  would  "  bear 
transplanting  from  Ottawa  to  Jonesboro."  "1  have  a  right," 
said  Mr.  Douglas,  "to  an  answer,  for  I  quote  from  the  plat- 
form of  the  republican  party,  made  by  himself  (Lincoln)  and 
others  at  the  time  that  party  was  formed,  and  the  bargain 
made  by  Mr.  Lincoln  to  dissolve  and  kill  the  old  whig  party, 
and  transfer  its  members,  bound  hand  and  foot,  to  the  abolition 
party,  under  the  direction  of  Giddings  and  Fred  Douglass." 

Mr.  Douglas  went  on  then  to  comment  on  Mr.  Lincoln's 
Springfield  speech,  which  had  come  to  be  known  as  "the 
house-divided-against-itself  speech,"  and  slid,  as  usual,  into 


his  talk  about  the  inferiority  of  the  negro.  Speaking  of  Mr. 
Lincoln  and  the  "  abolition  orators,"  he  said,  "  he  and  they 
maintain  that  negro  equality  is  guarantied  by  the  laws  of 
God,  and  that  it  is  asserted  in  the  Declaration  of  Independ- 
ence. If  they  think  so,  of  course  they  have  a  right  to  say  so, 
and  so  vote.  I  do  not  question  Mr.  Lincoln's  conscientious 
belief  that  the  negro  was  made  his  equal,  and,  hence,  his 
brother ;  but  for  my  own  part,  I  do  not  regard  the  negro  as 
my  equal,  and  positively  deny  that  he  is  my  brother,  or  any 
kin  to  me  whatever." 

And  here  it  may  be  said,  because  it  will  be  impossible  to 
describe  with  particularity  all  the  speeches  of  the  campaign, 
that  the  staple  of  the  speeches  of  Mr.  Douglas,  as  well  as 
those  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  related  to  a  very  few  points,  which  may 
be  summed  up  in  a  brace  of  paragraphs. 

Mr.  Douglas  did  not  believe  in  natural  negro  equality,  and 
did  believe  that  every  state  had  the  right  to  say  just  what 
rights  she  would  confer  upon  the  negro ;  that  the  people  of 
every  territory  had  a  right  to  decide  as  to  what  their  institu- 
tions should  be,  while  he  bowed,  at  the  same  time,  to  the 
Dred  Scott  decision,  which  declared  that  they  had  no  right  to 
abolish  slavery ;  and  that  the  country  could  endure  half  slave 
and  half  free  as  well  for  all  coming  time  as  it  had  for  the  pre- 
vious eighty  years,  while  slavery  itself,  to  him,  was  a  matter  of 
indifference — an  institution  which  might  be  "voted  up  or 
voted  down,"  without  any  appeal  to  his  preferences. 

On  the  other  hand,  Mr.  Lincoln  placed  himself  on  the  broad 
ground  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence,  that  all  men  are 
created  equal,  and  are  by  heaven  endowed  with  certain 
inalienable  rights,  such  as  life,  liberty  and  the  pursuit  of  hap- 
piness. He  recognized  the  negro  as  a  man,  coming  within  the 
broad  sweep  of  this  Declaration.  He  believed  thoroughly  in 
Mr.  Douglas'  doctrine  of  popular  sovereignty,  without  the 
Dred  Scott  qualification,  which  was  a  direct  denial  of  the 
sovereignty ;  but  he  believed  the  abrogation  of  the  Missouri 
compromise,  which  Mr.  Douglas  himself  had  effected,  an  un- 
speakable wrong,  a  foul  breach  of  faith,  by  which  it  was  ren- 


tiered  possible  for  the  people  of  a  territory  to  choose  slavery, 
and  by  which  the  forcing  of  slavery  upon  them  was  rendered 
practicable.  Furthermore,  he  saw  in  that  "  piece  of  machin- 
ery," made  up  of  congressional  legislation,  Supreme  Court 
decisions  and  executive  and  party  connivance,  an  attempt  to 
nationalize  and  perpetuate  slavery,  which  he  felt  must  logically 
ultimate  in  that  result,  or  end  in  universal  emancipation. 
Slavery,  he  believed,  had  lived  by  the  side  of  freedom,  and  in 
partnership  with  it,  simply  because  freedom  had  regarded 
itself  as  eternal,  while  it  had  regarded  slavery  as  ephemeral. 
Thus  the  fathers  regarded  and  treated  slavery.  They  had 
curtailed  its  territory.  They  had  forbidden  the  importation  of 
slaves.  All  their  arrangements  looked  to  an  early  end  of 
slavery ;  and  Mr.  Lincoln  quoted  the  champions  of  slavery  to 
sustain  his  views  on  this  point.  When  the  policy  of  the  gov- 
ernment changed,  and  it  was  proposed  to  nationalize  slavery 
and  make  it  perpetual — to  confer  upon  it  the  same  rights  with 
freedom — nay,  to  make  it  impossible  for  freedom  to  abolish 
it — then  he  foresaw  a  conflict  which  could  only  end  by  its 
utter  overthrow,  or  its  universal  prevalence.  He  did  not  be- 
lieve the  house  would  fall ;  he  did  believe  that  it  would  cease 
to  be  divided. 

The  seven  joint  debates  rang  their  changes  on  these  points, 
as  they  were  held  and  maintained  by  the  debaters.  Mr. 
Douglas  did  not  seem  to  be  as  fertile  in  thought  and  expres- 
sion as  his  antagonist.  He  was  more  given  to  diversions,  to  the 
ordinary  clap-trap  of  campaign  speaking,  to  appeals  to  preju- 
dices, to  the  springing  of  false  issues,  to  quibbles  and  tricks. 
Mr.  Lincoln,  on  the  contrary,  was  in  thorough  earnest,  and 
stuck  with  manly  tenacity  to  the  great  questions  he  had  in 
hand.  He  stripped  every  objectionable  proposition  and  every 
specious  argument  of  the  disguises  in  which  the  ingenious 
language  of  Mr.  Douglas  had  clothed  them,  and  refused  to 
be  led  away,  by  a  hair's  breadth,  from  the  real,  naked  issues 
of  the  campaign. 

In  replying  to  Judge  Douglas  at  Ottawa,  he  simply  said 
that  the  story  of  his  bargain  with  Mr.  Trumbull  was  not 


true,  and  that  he  was  so  far  from  having  had  anything  to  do 
with  the  convention  to  which  the  Senator  had  alluded  that  he 
was  attending  court,  off  in  Tazewell  County,  when  it  was 
held.  That  was  all  there  was  of  Mr.  Douglas'  charges.  They 
had  not  an  inch  of  truth  to  stand  upon ;  and  it  was  discovered 
immediately  after  the  debate  that  the  resolutions  which  Mr. 
Douglas  had  quoted  had  not  been  passed  in  Springfield  at  all, 
by  any  convention,  and  that,  although  they  had  been  uttered 
by  a  local  convention  in  the  town  of  Aurora,  they  were,  for 
the  purposes  used,  and  under  the  circumstances,  essentially  a 
forgery,  for  which  Mr.  Douglas  or  his  friends  were  guiltily 
responsible.  The  charge  that  Mr.  Lincoln  was  in  the  conven- 
tion, that  he  made  a  bargain  with  Mr.  Trumbull,  that  he  was 
responsible  for  a  certain  set  of  anti-slavery  resolutions,  and 
that  the  resolutions  which  he  read  were  passed  by  the  conven- 
tion that  was  held  at  Springfield,  was  false  in  every  particular. 
Did  Mr.  Douglas  know  it  to  be  so  ?  Perhaps  the  only  reply 
that  it  is  proper  to  make  to  this  question  is  that  he  ought  to 
have  known  it  to  be  so. 

In  Mr.  Lincoln's  reply,  he  quoted  from  his  Peoria  speech 
made  in  1854,  to  which  allusion  has  been  made  in  this  history, 
to  show  his  exact  position  on  the  subject  of  slavery  in  the 
states  where  it  existed.  He  said  in  that  speech  that  he  had 
no  prejudice  against  the  southern  people.  They  were  just 
what  we  should  be  under  their  circumstances.  "  If  slavery 
did  not  now  exist  among  them,  they  would  not  introduce  it. 
If  it  did  now  exist  among  us,  we  should  not  instantly  give  it 
up."  He  understood  how  difficult  it  was  to  get  rid  of  slavery, 
and  he  did  not  blame  them  for  not  doing  what  he  should  not 
know  how  to  do  himself.  He  acknowledged  his  constitutional 
obligations,  and  went  so  far  as  to  say  that  he  would  be  willing 
to  give  them  a  law  for  reclaiming  fugitives,  provided  a  law 
could  be  made  which  would  not  be  more  likely  to  carry  a  free 
man  into  slavery  than  our  ordinary  criminal  laws  are  to  hang 
an  innocent  one.  This,  notwithstanding  he  hated  slavery  for 
the  monstrous  injustice  of  slavery  itself,  and  for  its  disgrace  to 
democratic  institutions.  But  all  these  facts  had  no  effect  upon 


his  mind  when  he  came  to  consider  the  question  of  extending 
slavery  over  territory  now  free.  There  was  no  more  excuse, 
in  his  opinion,  for  permitting  slavery  to  go  into  free  territory, 
than  for  reviving  the  African  slave-trade  by  law.  "  The  law 
which  forbids  the  bringing  a  slave  from  Africa,"  said  Mr. 
Lincoln,  "  and  that  which  has  so  lonjj  forbidden  the  takino1  of 

'  O  o 

them  to  Nebraska,  can  hardly  be  distinguished,  on  any  moral 
principle."  The  principal  point  urged  against  Judge  Douglas 
in  this  speech  touched  his  devotion  to  Supreme  Court  decis- 
ions. A  decision  of  this  Court  was  to  him  a  "  Thus  saith  the 
Lord."  There  was  no  appeal  from  it;  and  the  next  decision 
of  this  same  Court,  whatever  it  might  be,  was  indorsed  in 
advance.  It  is  simply  for  the  Supreme  Court  to  say  that  no 
state  under  the  Constitution  can  exclude  slavery,  and  he  must 
bow  to  the  decision,  just  as  when  it  says  no  territory  can  thus 
exclude  it.  Mr.  Lincoln  closed  his  remarks  on  this  point  by 
an  argumentum  ad  hominem,  equally  characteristic  and  clever ; 

"  The  next  decision,  as  much  as  this,  will  be  a  Thus  saith  tJie  Lord. 
There  is  nothing  that  can  divert  or  turn  him  away  from  this  decision. 
It  is  nothing  that  I  point  out  to  him  that  his  great  prototype,  General 
Jackson,  did  not  believe  in  the  binding  force  of  decisions.  It  is  nothing 
to  him  that  Jefferson  did  not  so  believe.  I  have  said  that  I  have  often 
heard  him  approve  of  Jackson's  course  in  disregarding  the  decision  of  the 
Supreme  Court  pronouncing  a  national  bank  constitutional.  He  says 
I  did  not  hear  him  say  so  He  denies  the  accuracy  of  my  recollection. 
I  say  he  ought  to  know  better  than  I,  but  I  will  make  no  question  about 
this  thing,  though  it  still  seems  to  me  that  I  heard  him  say  it  twenty 
times.  I  will  tell  him  though,  that  he  now  claims  to  stand  on  the  Cin- 
cinnati platform,  which  affirms  that  Congress  cannot  charter  a  national 
bank,  in  the  teeth  of  that  old  standing  decision  that  Congress  can  charter 
a  bank.  And  I  remind  him  of  another  piece  of  history  on  the  question 
of  respect  for  judicial  decisions,  and  it  is  a  piece  of  Illinois  history,  be- 
longing to  a  time  when  the  large  party  to  which  Judge  Douglas  belonged 
were  displeased  with  a  decision  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  Illinois,  be- 
cause they  had  decided  that  a  Governor  could  not  remove  a  Secretary 
of  State.  You  will  find  the  whole  story  in  Ford's  History  of  Illinois; 
and  I  know  that  Judge  Douglas  will  not  deny  that  he  was  then  in  favor 
of  overslaughing  that  decision  by  the  mode  of  adding  five  new  Judges, 
so  as  to  vote  down  the  four  old  ones.  Not  only  so,  but  it  ended  in  the 
Judge's  sitting  down  an  that  very  bench  as  one  of  thejice  new  Judges  to  break 


down  the  four  old  ones.  It  was  in  this  way  precisely  lhat  he  got  his  title 
of  Judge.  Now,  when  the  Judge  tells  me  that  men  appointed  condi- 
tionally to  sit  as  members  of  a  court,  will  have  to  be  catechised  before- 
hand upon  some  subject,  I  say,  'You  know,  Judge;  you  have  tried  it.' 
When  he  says  a  court  of  this  kind  will  lose  the  confidence  of  all  men, 
will  be  prostituted  and  disgraced  by  such  a  proceeding,  I  say, '  You  know 
best,  Judge;  you  have  been  through  the  mill.'  But  I  cannot  shake 
Judge  Douglas'  teeth  loose  from  the  Dred  Scott  decision.  Like  some 
obstinate  animal  (I  mean  no  disrespect,)  that  will  hang  on  when  he  has 
once  got  his  teeth  fixed ;  you  may  cut  off  a  leg,  or  you  may  tear  away 
an  arm,  still  he  will  not  relax  his  hold.  And  so  I  may  point  out  to 
the  Judge,  and  say  that  he  is  bespattered  all  over,  from  the  beginning 
of  his  political  life  to  the  present  time,  with  attacks  upon  judicial  decis»- 
ions — I  may  cut  off  limb  after  limb  of  his  public  record,  and  strive  to 
•wrench  him  from  a  single  dictum  of  the  court — yet  I  cannot  divert  him 
from  it.  He  hangs,  to  the  last,  to  the  Dred  Scott  decision.  These 
things  show  there  is  a  purpose  strong  as  death  and  eternity  for  which  he 
adheres  to  this  decision,  and  for  which  he  will  adhere  to  all  other  decis- 
ions of  the  same  court." 

At  the  close  of  the  half  hour  which  Mr.  Douglas  employed 
in  his  reply  to  Mr.  Lincoln,  the  latter  was  literally  borne 
away  upon  the  shoulders  of  his  friends,  in  a  frenzy  of  enthu- 
siasm, a  fact  to  which  Mr.  Douglas  made  playful  allusion  a 
few  days  afterwards,  in  the  statement  that  Mr.  Lincoln  was 
so  much  frightened  that  he  had  to  be  taken  from  the  stand, 
and  was  laid  up  for  seven  days.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  too  simple, 
too  much  in  earnest,  and  too  sensitive,  to  take  this  badinage 
gracefully.  He  really  supposed  there  might  be  persons  who 
would  believe  it,  as  appeared  in  a  subsequent  speech,  in  which 
he  made  it  a  matter  of  complaint. 

At  the  Freeport  meeting,  Mr.  Lincoln  had  the  opening 
speech,  and  commenced  by  answering  the  interrogatories  which 
Mr.  Douglas  had  addressed  to  him  at  Ottawa,  based  upon  the 
declarations  of  the  Aurora  resolutions.  Mr.  Douglas  asked 
him  if  he  stood  pledged  now  to  the  same  details  of  policy  that 
he  did  in  1854 — details  which  he  drew  from  the  resolutions 
he  had  read ;  and  to  his  questions  Mr.  Lincoln  made  these 
replies,  seriatim :  that  he  was  not  then,  and  never  had  been 
pledged  to  the  unconditional  repeal  of  the  fugitive  slave  law ; 


that  he  was  not  then,  and  had  never  been,  pledged  against  the 
admission  of  any  more  slave  states :  that  he  did  not  stand 
pledged  against  the  admission  of  a  new  state  into  the  Union 
with  such  a  constitution  as  the  people  of  that  state  may  see 
fit  to  make ;  that  he  did  not  stand  pledged  to  the  abolition  of 
slavery  in  the  District  of  Columbia ;  that  he  did  not  stand 
pledged  to  the  prohibition  of  the  slave  trade  between  the  dif- 
ferent states  ;  and  that  he  was  pledged  to  a  belief  in  the  right 
and  duty  of  Congress  to  prohibit  slavery  in  all  the  United 
States  territories.  After  saying  that  he  had  replied  in  terms 
to  the  Judge,  and  that  he  was  not  "  pledged  "  to  any  of  these 
principles  or  measures,  he  further  said  that  he  would  not  hang 
upon  the  form  of  the  questions,  but  utter  what  he  did  think 
on  all  the  subjects  involved  in  them.  He  believed  the  southern 
people  were-  entitled,  under  the  Constitution,  to  a  congressional 
fugitive  slave  law ;  said  that  he  should  be  very  sorry  to  see 
any  more  slave  states  applying  for  admission  to  the  Union, 
and  declared  that  he  would  not  only  be  glad  to  see  slavery 
abolished  in  the  District  of  Columbia,  but  he  believed  that 
Congress  had  the  constitutional  power  to  abolish  it  there. 
Having  answered  Mr.  Douglas'  questions — these  and  the  re- 
mainder— in  accordance  with  opinions  with  which  the  reader 
is  already  familiar,  he  was  ready  to  turn  questioner,  and  give 
the  Judge  something  to  do,  in  the  same  line  of  effort.  He 
had  already  consulted  with  his  friends  concerning  the  matter, 
and,  in  his  conversation  on  the  subject,  had  dropped  an  ex- 
pression which  showed  that  he  was  looking  beyond  the  sena- 
torial contest  for  the  grand  results  of  the  discussion.  In  Mr. 
Lincoln's  view  the  principal  point  of  debate  was  Mr.  Douglas' 
doctrine  of  popular  sovereignty,  in  connection  with  the  Dred 
Scott  decision — the  two  things  in  his  judgment  being  in  direct 
antagonism,  and  being,  in  reality,  a  shameful  fraud.  This  an- 
tagonism Mr.  Lincoln  proposed  to  present  in  the  form  of  inter- 
rogatories, but  his  friends  remonstrated.  "  If  you  put  that 
question  to  him,"  they  said,  "  he  will  perceive  that  an  answer, 
giving  practical  force  and  effect  to  the  Dred  Scott  decision  in 
the  territories,  inevitably  loses  him  the  battle ;  and  he  will 


therefore  reply  by  offering  the  decision  as  an  abstract  princi- 
ple, but  denying  its  practical  application."  "  But,"  said  Mr. 
Lincoln,  "  if  he  does  that,  he  can  never  be  President."  His 
friends  replied,  "  that  is  not  your  lookout ;  you  are  after  the 
senatorship."  "  No,  gentlemen,"  said  he,  "  I  am  killing  larger 
game.  The  battle  of  1860  is  worth  a  hundred  of  this."* 

Whether  Mr.  Lincoln  then  expected  to  be  the  republican 
candidate  for  the  presidency  in  1860,  there  are  no  means  of 
judging ;  but  that  he  intended  the  discussion  to  damage  Mr. 
Douglas'  presidential  prospects  there  is  no  doubt.  So  Mr. 
Lincoln  put  his  questions,  which,  in  their  order,  were  as  they 
follow : 

"  1.  If  the  people  of  Kansas  shall,  by  means  entirely  unobjectionable 
in  all  other  respects,  adopt  a  state  constitution,  and  ask  admission  into 
the  Union  under  it,  before  they  have  the  requisite  number  of  inhabits 
ants  according  to  the  English  bill — some  ninety-three  thousand — will 
you  vote  to  admit  them  ? 

"2.  Can  the  people  of  a  United  States  territory,  in  any  lawful  way, 
against  the  wish  of  any  citizen  of  the  United  States,  exclude  slavery 
from  its  limits  prior  to  the  formation  of  a  state  constitution  ? 

"3.  If  the  Supreme  Court  of  the  United  States  shall  decide  that 
states  cannot  exclude  slavery  from  their  limits,  are  you  in  favor  of 
acquiescing  in,  adopting  and  following  such  decision,  as  a  rule  of  po- 
litical action? 

"  4.  Are  you  in  favor  of  acquiring  additional  territory,  in  disregard 
of  how  such  acquisition  may  affect  the  nation  on  the  slavery  question  V  " 

To  the  first  question  Mr.  Douglas  replied  that  he  held  it  a 
sound  rule,  of  universal  application,  to  require  a  territory  to 
contain  the  requisite  population  for  a  member  of  Congress, 
before  it  is  admitted  as  a  state  into  the  Union ;  but  it  having 
been  decided  by  Congress  that  Kansas  had  population  enough 
for  a  slave  state,  he  held  that  she  had  enough  for  a  free  state. 
His  answer  to  the  second  question  was  hi  brief,  this:  "It 
matters  not  what  way  the  Supreme  Court  may  hereafter  de- 
cide, as  to  the  abstract  question  whether  slavery  may  or  may 
not  go  into  a  territory  under  the  Constitution,  the  people  have 

*  Scripps,  p.  28. 


the  lawful  means  to  introduce  it,  or  exclude  it  as  they  please, 
for  the  reason  that  slavery  cannot  exist  a  day,  or  an  hour, 
anywhere,  unless  it  is  supported  by  local  police  regulations. 
Those  police  regulations  can  only  be  established  by  the  local 
legislature;  and  if  the  people  are  opposed  to  slavery,  they 
will  elect  representatives  to  that  body  who  will,  by  unfriendly 
legislation,  effectually  prevent  the  introduction  of  it  into  their 
midst."  The  third  question  he  answered  by  stating  that  a 
decision  of  the  Supreme  Court  that  states  could  not  exclude 
slavery  from  their  limits,  would  "be  an  act  of  moral  treason 
that  no  man  on  the  bench  would  ever  descend  to."  The  thing 
in  his  view  was  simply  impossible.  This  left  the  real  question 
unanswered.  Mr.  Lincoln  had  not  asked  him  whether  the 
Supreme  Court  would  or  could  make  such  a  decision,  but  had 
inquired  what  he  would  do  in  the  event  that  it  should.  To 
the  fourth  interrogatory  he  replied,  "  ^Vhenever  it  becomes 
necessary,  in  our  growth  and  progress,  to  acquire  more  terri- 
tory, I  am  in  favor  of  it,  without  reference  to  the  question  of 
slavery ;  and  when  we  have  acquired  it  I  will  leave  the  people 
free  to  do  as  they  please — either  to  make  it  slave  or  free  terri- 
tory as  they  prefer." 

To  the  answer  to  the  second  question  Mr.  Lincoln  re- 
sponded by  charging  Mr.  Douglas  with  changing  his  ground ; 
and  referred  to  the  record  to  prove  his  charge.  He  referred 
to  the  inquiry  made  by  Judge  Trumbull  of  Judge  Douglas  in 
the  United  States  Senate,  on  this  very  point,  when  the  former 
asked  the  latter  whether  the  people  of  a  territory  had  the 
lawful  power  to  exclude  slavery,  prior  to  the  formation  of  a 
constitution.  The  Judge's  reply  then  was  that  it  was  a  ques- 
tion to  be  decided  by  the  Supreme  Court.  The  question  has 
been  decided  by  the  Supreme  Court,  and  now  the  Judge,  by 
saying  that  the  people  can  exclude  slavery  if  they  choose, 
virtually  says  that  it  is  not  a  question  for  the  Supreme  Court 
but  a  question  for  the  people.  The  proposition  that  "slavery 
cannot  exist  a  day  or  an  hour  without  local  police  regulations  " 
is  historically  false,  even  in  the  case  of  Dred  Scott  himself, 
who  was  held  in  Minnesota  territory  not  only  without  police 


regulations,  but  in  the  teeth  of  Congressional  legislation,  sup- 
posed to  be  valid  at  the  time.  The  absurdity  of  adhering  to 
the  Dred  Scott  decision  and  maintaining  popular  sovereignty 
at  the  same  time,  he  put  into  a  single  sentence  in  a  subsequent 
speech,  made  in  Ohio — a  sentence  which  contained  the  whole 
argument.  It  was  declaring,  he  said,  "no  less  than  that  a 
thing  may  lawfully  be  driven  away  from  a  place  where  it  has 
a  lawful  right  to  be." 

It  is  impossible  to  follow  to-  their  conclusion  this  series  of 
debates  in  the  pages  of  this  volume.  Enough  has  been  writ- 
ten to  reveal  the  ground  of  the  two  antagonists,  the  merits 
of  the  questions  they  discussed  and  their  modes  of  conducting 
debate.  Into  the  side  questions  which  sprang  up  on  every 
fresh  occasion,  and  which  were  connected  with  persons  and 
local  politics,  it  is  not  possible,  and,  perhaps,  not  desirable,  to 
follow  the  debaters.  They  kept  their  appointments,  and  ful- 
filled the  terms  of  their  arrangement.  They  attracted  to 
them  immense  crowds,  wherever  they  appeared;  and  the 
whole  nation  looked  on  with  an  intense  interest.  There  has 
never  been  a  local  canvass  since  the  formation  of  the  govern- 
ment which  so  attracted  the  attention  of  the  politicians  of 
other  states  as  this.  It  was  the  key  note  of  the  coming  pres- 
idential campaign.  It  was  a  thorough  presentation  of  the 
issues  upon  which  the  next  national  battle  was  to  be  fought. 
The  eyes  of  all  the  eastern  states  were  turned  to  the  west 
where  young  republicanism  and  old  democracy  were  estab- 
lishing the  dividing  lines  of  the  two  parties,  and  preparing 
the  ground  for  the  great  struggle  soon  to  be  begun. 

To  say  that  Mr.  Lincoln  was  the  victor  in  this  contest,  mor- 
ally and  intellectually,  is  simply  to  record  the  judgment  of  the 
world.  To  say  that  he  was  victor  in  every  way  before  the 
people  of  Illinois,  it  needs  only  to  be  recorded  that  he  received 
a  majority  in  the  popular  vote  over  Mr.  Douglas  of  fou^ 
thousand  eighty-five.  There  is  this  to  be  said,  however,  in 
connection  with  these  statements.  Whatever  the  advantages 
of  Mr.  Douglas  may  have  been,  Mr.  Lincoln  had  the  great 
advantage  of  belonging  to  a  new  and  aggressive  party,  which 


had  started  freshly  in  the  strife  for  power,  and  had  not  been 
corrupted  by  power.  It  had  not  lived  long  enough  to  depart 
from  the  principles  of  truth  and  justice  in  which  it  had  its 
birth.  Standing  on  the  ground  that  slavery  was  wrong  and 
that  its  perpetuation  would  be  a  calamity,  and  its  diffusion 
through  new  territory  a  crime,  Mr.  Lincoln  not  only  felt, 
but  knew,  that  he  was  right.  This  made  him  strong.  Mr. 
Douglas  was  looking  for  the  presidency,  and  knew  that  if  he 
should  ever  reach  and  grasp  the  prize  before  him,  he  must  do 
it  through  the  aid  of  the  slaveholding  states.  He  knew  that 
he  could  only  secure  this  support  by  a  certain  degree  of 
friendliness,  or  an  entire  indifference,  to  slavery.  He  intended 
to  ride  into  power  on  the  back  of  popular  sovereignty,  giving 
at  least  nominal  equality  to  slavery  and  freedom  in  the  terri- 
tories, while,  at  the  same  time,  endorsing  the  decision  of  the 
Supreme  Court  as  to  what  the  exact  rights  of  slavery  were, 
,under  the  Constitution.  His  policy  was  not  only  that  of  the 
democratic  party  of  Illinois,  but  essentially  that  of  the  whole 
North.  He  boasted  of  this  on  one  occasion,  upon  which  Mr. 
Lincoln  retorted  the  charge  of  sectionalism.  Mr.  Douglas 
had  been  obliged  to  defer  so  much  to  the  spirit  of  freedom 
and  to  the  rights  of  free  labor,  in  the  territories — had  been 
obliged  for  fear  of  defeat  to  go  so  far  from  the  original  path 
he  had  marked  out  for  himself — that  Mr.  Lincoln  called  his 
attention  to  the  fact  that  his  speeches  would  not  pass  current 
south  of  the  Ohio  so  readily  as  they  had  formerly  done. 
"Whatever  may  be  the  result  of  this  ephemeral  contest  be- 
tween Judge  Douglas  and  myself,"  said  he,  "I  see  the  day 
rapidly  approaching  when  his  pill  of  'sectionalism,'  which  he 
has  been  thrusting  down  the  throats  of  republicans  for  years 
past,  will  be  crowded  down  his  own  throat."  It  was  undoubt- 
edly the  grand  aim  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  throughout  the  whole 
series  of  debates,  to  drive  Mr.  Douglas  into  such  an  open 
declaration  for  slavery  as  to  secure  his  defeat  for  the  senatorial 
office,  or,  failing  in  that,  to  compel  him  to  such  declarations 
on  behalf  of  freedom  as  would  spoil  him  as  a  southern  candi- 
date for  the  presidency.  "The  battle  of  1860  is  worth  a 


hundred  of  this,"  Mr.  Lincoln  had  said  to  his  friends  before 
the  Freeport  debate.  He  saw  further  than  they.  He  was 
"  killing  larger  game  "  than  the  senatorship,  and  he  certainly 
did  kill,  or  assist  in  killing,  Judge  Douglas,  as  a  southern 
candidate  for  the  presidency. 

These  debates  of  these  two  champions,  respectively  of  the 
principles  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence  and  of  party 
policy,  were  published  entire  as  a  campaign  document  in  the 
republican  interest,  when  Mr.  Lincoln  was  nominated  for  the 
presidency,  without  a  word  of  comment,  the  people  being  left 
to  form  their  own  conclusions  as  to  the  merits  of  the  contro- 
versy, and  the  relative  ability  of  the  men  whom  it  represented. 

It  is  in  vain  to  look  for  any  better  presentation  of  the  prin- 
ciples of  the  republican  party,  or  a  better  definition  of  the 
issues  which  divided  it  from  the  democratic  party  of  the  time, 
than  are  to  be  found  in  these  speeches  of  Mr.  Lincoln.  They 
cover  the  whole  ground.  They  are  clear,  sound,  logical,  pow- 
erful and  exhaustive ;  and,  in  connection  with  two  or  three 
speeches  made  afterwards  in  Ohio  ajid  New  York,  form  the 
chief  material  on  which  his  reputation  as  an  orator  and  a  de- 
bater must  rest.  The  man  who  shall  write  the  story  of  the 
great  rebellion  on  behalf  of  human  slavery  must  go  back  to 
these  masterly  speeches  of  an  Illinois  lawyer  to  find  the  clear- 
est and  most  complete  statement  of  those  differences  between 
the  power  of  slavery  and  the  spirit  of  freedom — the  policy  of 
slavery  and  the  policy  of  freedom — which  ended,  after  expend- 
itures of  uncounted  treasure  and  unmeasured  blood,  in  the 
final  overthrow  of  the  accursed  institution. 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  beaten  in  his  contest  for  the  seat  of  Mr. 
Douglas  in  the  Senate,  in  consequence  of  the  unfair  appor- 
tionment of  the  legislative  districts.  When  it  came  to  a  bal- 
lot in  the  legislature,  it  was  found  that  there  were  fourteen 
democrats  to  eleven  republicans  in  the  Senate,  and  forty  dem- 
ocrats to  thirty-five  republicans  in  the  House.  This  re-instated 
Mr.  Douglas ;  and  the  champion  of  the  republican  party  was 
defeated  after  a  contest  fought  by  him  with  wonderful  power 
and  persistence,  with  unfailing  fairness,  good  nature  and  mag- 


nanimity,  and  with  a  skill  rarely  if  ever  surpassed.  He  had 
visited  every  part  of  the  state,  made  about  sixty  speeches, 
been  received  by  the  people  everywhere  with  unbounded  en- 
thusiasm, had  grown  strong  with  every  day's  exercise,  was 
conscious  that  he  had  worsted  his  antagonist  in  the  intellectual 
struggle,  and,  when  defeat  came,  he  could  not  have  been  oth- 
erwise than  disappointed.  On  being  asked  by  a  friend  how 
he  felt  when  the  returns  came  in  that  insured  his  defeat,  he 
replied  that  he  felt,  he  supposed,  very  much  like  the  stripling 
who  had  bruised  his  toe — "  too  badly  to  laugh  and  too  big  to 
cry."  But  the  battle  of  1860  was  indeed  worth  a  hundred  of 
that,  and  to  it,  events  will  swiftly  lead  us. 


THE  winter  of  1858  and  1859  found  Mr.  Lincoln  at  leisure. 
His  absorption  in  political  pursuits  had  materially  interfered 
with  his  professional  business,  although  he  retained  all  that  he 
had  the  disposition  to  attend  to.  At  this  point  occurred  one 
of  those  strange  diversions  that  were  so  characteristic  of  the 
man.  He  sat  down  and  wrote,  in  the  form  of  a  lecture,  a 
comprehensive  history  of  inventions,  beginning  with  the 
handiwork  in  brass  and  iron  of  Tubal  Cain,  and  ending  with 
the  latest  products  of  inventive  art.  This  lecture  he  delivered 
at  Springfield,  and,  in  a  single  instance,  in  another  city,  but 
there  the  public  delivery  of  it  ceased.  Whether  he  undertook 
this  to  detach  his  mind  from  subjects  which  had  held  it  so 
long,  or  whether  he  did  it  to  be  able  to  meet  the  invitations 
that  came  to  him  from  many  quarters  to  address  the  winter 
lyceums,  does  not  appear.  The  effort  does  not  seem  to  have 
been  a  satisfactory  one  to  himself,  and  it  is  easy  to  see  that  it 
was  not  likely  to  be  particularly  attractive  to  the  lecture-going 
public.  Reading  lectures  and  delivering  stump  speeches  are 
very  different  styles  of  effort;  and  the  most  effective  political 
orators  often  surprise  themselves  as  much  as  they  do  their  aud- 
iences by  their  dryness  and  dreariness  upon  the  platform  of 
the  lecturer.  The  facts  of  the  matter  are  principally  interest- 
ing as  showing  the  natural  drift  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  mind  when 
diverted  from  professional  and  political  pursuits. 

This  diversion  was  only  temporary.  Mr.  Lincoln  had  be- 
come a  political  man.  Whatever  may  have  been  his  inclina- 


tions  at  this  time,  he  felt  that  he  was  in  the  hands  of  the  party 
to  which  he  had  just  given  the  ripest  and  best  efforts  of  his 
life-  He  was  a  representative  man,  and  was  already  regarded 
by  the  great  masses  of  the  new  party  at  the  West  as  their 
best  man  for  the  next  presidential  campaign.  His  senatorial 
contest  had  done  much  to  make  his  name  known  to  the  poli- 
ticians of  the  nation.  Political  men  everywhere  had  read  his 
masterly  debates  with  Senator  Douglas,  and  had  given  him  his 
position  among  the  best  politicians  and  most  notable  political 
orators  of  the  time.  While  this  is  true,  it  is  also  true  that 
east  of  the  Alleghanies  he  was  not  much  known  among  the 
people.  He  had  not  been  much  in  public  office ;  and  his  field 
of  action  and  influence  was  so  distant  that  they  had  heard  but 
little  about  him.  If  they  had  been  told  that  within  two  years 
Abraham  Lincoln  would  be  elected  president  of  the  United 
States,  three  out  of  every  four  would  have  inquired  who 
Abraham  Lincoln  was.  At  the  West  all  was  different.  Ev- 
erybody knew  "Old  Abe."  He  was  the  people's  friend — 
the  man  of  the  people — the  champion  of  freedom  and  free 
labor — the  man  who  had  beaten  the  "little  giant"  in  the  pop- 
ular vote  of  the  democratic  state  of  Illinois.  His  peculiari- 
ties were  as  well  known  to  the  people  of  the  West  as  if  he 
had  been  the  member  of  every  man's  family.  To  look  upon 
him  was  to  look  upon  a  lion.  To  shake  hands  with  him  or  to 
hear  him  speak,  was  a  great  privilege — a  subject  of  self-grat- 
ulation  or  neighborly  boasting. 

On  the  17th  of  May,  1859,  we  find  Mr.  Lincoln  answering 
a  letter  addressed  to  him  by  Dr.  Theodor  Canisius,  a  Ger- 
man citizen  of  Illinois,  who,  with  an  eye  to  the  future,  inquired 
concerning  Mr.  Lincoln's  views  of  the  constitutional  provision 
recently  adopted  in  Massachusetts,  in  relation  to  naturalized 
citizens,  and  whether  he  opposed  or  favored  a  fusion  of  the 
republicans  and  other  opposition  elements  in  the  approaching 
campaign  of  1860.  Mr.  Lincoln  replied  that,  while  he  had 
no  right  to  advise  the  sovereign  and  independent  state  of 
Massachusetts,  concerning  her  policy,  he  would  say  that  so 
far  as  he  understood  the  provision  she  had  consummated,  he 


was  against  its  adoption  in  Illinois,  and  in  every  other  place 
where  he  had  a  right  to  oppose  it.  "  As  I  understand  the 
spirit  of  our  institutions,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "  it  is  designed 
to  promote  the  elevation  of  men.  I  am,  therefore,  hostile  to 
anything  that  tends  to  their  debasement.  It  is  well  known 
that  I  deplore  the  depressed  condition  of  the  blacks,  and  it 
would,  therefore,  be  very  inconsistent  for  me  to  look  with 
approval  upon  any  measure  that  infringes  upon  the  inalienable 
rights  of  white  men,  whether  6r  not  they  are  born  in  another 
land,  or  speak  a  different  language  from  our  own."  As  to 
the  inquiry  touching  the  fusion  of  all  the  opposition  elements, 
he  was  in  favor  of  it,  if  it  could  be  done  on  republican  princi- 
ples, and  upon  no  other  condition.  "  A  fusion  upon  any  other 
platform,"  the  letter  proceeds,  "  would  be  as  insane  as  unprin- 
cipled. It  would  thereby  lose  the  whole  North,  while  the 
common  enemy  would  still  have  the  support  of  the  entire 
South.  The  question  in  relation  to  men  is  different.  There 
are  good  and  patriotic  men  and  able  statesmen  in  the  South 
whom  I  would  willingly  support,  if  they  would  place  them- 
selves on  republican  ground  ;  but  I  shall  oppose  the  lowering 
of  the  republican  standard  even  by  a  hair's  breadth." 

It  is  to  be  remembered  in  this  connection  that  Massachusetts 
was  a  representative  republican  state,  and,  regarding  the  igno- 
rant foreign  population,  particularly  of  the  eastern  states,  as 
holding  the  balance  of  power  between  the  democratic  and 
republican  parties,  which  it  never  failed  to  exercise  in  the  in- 
terest of  the  former  and  in  the  support  of  African  slavery,  had 
instituted  measures  which  rendered  naturalization  a  more 
difficult  process.  This  embarrassed  the  republicans  of  the 
West,  who  were  associated  with  a  large  and  generally  intelli- 
gent German  population,  with  leanings  toward  the  republican 
party  rather  than  to  the  democratic.  Hence  this  letter  to  Mr. 
Lincoln  and  his  reply,  which  latter  undoiibtedly  had  its  office 
in  shaping  public  opinion,  and  in  bringing  the  foreign  popula- 
tion of  the  West  into  hearty  sympathy  with  Mr.  Lincoln 

It  was  during  this  year  that  the  movement  for  making  Mr. 


Lincoln  the  republican  candidate  for  the  presidency  took  form. 
He  was  present  as  a  spectator  at  the  Illinois  state  republican 
convention  held  at  Decatur  on  the  tenth  of  May.  AVhen  he 
entered  the  hall,  he  was  greeted  with  such  enthusiasm  as  few 
defeated  men  are  favored  with.  There  was  no  mistaking  the 


high  honor  and  warm  affection  in  which  the  audience  held 
him,  and  no  doubting  the  fact  that  they  regarded  that  which 
was  nominally  his  defeat  as  a  great  triumph,  whose  fruits 
would  not  long  be  delayed.  He  had  hardly  taken  his  seat 
when  Governor  Oglesby  of  Decatur  announced  that  an  old 
democrat  of  Macon  County  desired  to  make  a  contribution  to 
the  convention.  The  offer  being  at  once  accepted,  two  old 
fence-rails  were  borne  into  the  convention,  gaudily  decorated, 
and  bearing  the  inscription:  "ABRAHAM  LINCOLN,  the  rail 
candidate  for  the  presidency  in  1860.  Two  rails  from  a 
lot  of  three  thousand,  made  in  1830,  by  Thomas  Hanks  and 
Abe  Lincoln — whose  father  was  the  first  pioneer  of  Macon 

The  effect  of  this  upon  an  audience  already  excited  can  be 
imagined  by  those  only  who  have  been  familiar  with  the  effect 
of  similar  melo  dramatic  incidents  under  similar  circumstan- 
ces. The  cheers  were  prolonged  for  fifteen  minutes,  or  until 
the  strength  of  the  enthusiastic  assembly  was  exhausted. 
Mr.  Lincoln  was  called  upon  to  explain  the  matter  of  the 
rails,  which  he  did,  repeating  the  story  already  in  the  reader's 
possession — the  story  of  his  first  work  in  Illinois,  when  he 
helped  to  build  a  cabin  for  his  father,  and  to  fence  in  a  field 
of  corn. 

It  is  the  misfortune  of  great  men  who  are  candidates  for 
office,  that  appeals  must  be  made  by  them,  or  on  their  behalf, 
to  the  groundlings.  It  was  a  great  misfortune  to  Mr.  Lincoln 
that  he  was  introduced  to  the  nation  as  pre-eminently  a  rail- 
splitter,  and  that  it  was  deemed  necessary  to  his  political  for- 
tunes that  he  should  be  called  such.  There  is  no  question 
that  the  designation  belittled  him  in  the  eyes  of  all  people  of 
education  and  culture,  at  home  and  abroad.  And  this,  not 
because  there  was  any  prejudice  among  these  people  against 


labor,  and  not  because  they  attached  the  slightest  dishonor  to 
Mr.  Lincoln  on  account  of  his  early  poverty  and  humble  pur- 
suits. Splitting  rails  was  in  no  way  allied  to  the  duties  of  the 
presidency.  The  ability  to  split  rails  did  not  add  to  moral  or 
intellectual  power.  The  fact  that  Mr.  Lincoln  had  split  rails 
did  not  increase  his  qualifications  for  office.  Mr.  Lincoln 
himself  regretted  that,  while  he  was  splitting  these  rails,  he 
had  not  been  in  school  or  college.  He  felt  that  he  should 
have  been  very  much  better  fitted  for  the  great  duties  that 
had  been  devolved  upon  him  if,  instead  having  devoted  the 
best  of  his  youth  to  splitting  rails  and  other  manual  labor,  he 
had  enjoyed  the  advantages  of  a  thorough  education.  The 
country  took  Mr.  Lincoln  at  the  estimate  of  his  friends ;  and 
those  friends  thrust  him  before  the  country  as  a  man  whose 
grand  achievement  was  the  splitting  of  many  rails.  It  took 
years  for  the  country  to  learn  that  Mr.  Lincoln  was  not  a 
boor.  It  took  years  for  them  to  unlearn  what  an  unwise  and 
boyish  introduction  of  a  great  man  to  the  public  had  taught 
them.  It  took  years  for  them  to  comprehend  the  fact  that 
in  Mr.  Lincoln  the  country  had  the  wisest,  truest,  gentlest, 
noblest,  most  sagacious  president  who  had  occupied  the  chair 
of  state  since  Washington  retired  from  it.  At  this  very  period 
he  said  to  Judge  Drummond  of  Chicago,  who  had  remarked 
to  him  that  people  were  talking  of  him  for  the  presidency :  "  It 
seems  as  if  they  ought  to  find  somebody  who  knows  more 
than  I  do."  The  rails  and  that  which  they  symbolized  were 
what  troubled  him,  and,  in  his  own  judgment,  detracted  from 
his  qualifications  for  the  high  office. 

The  latter  part  of  1859  and  the  first  months  of  1860  were 
broken  by  travel  through  various  portions  of  the  country, 
during  which  he  delivered  some  of  the  best  and  most  elaborate 
speeches  of  his  life.  He  visited  Kansas,  and  was  received  by 
her  people  with  the  honor  due  to  one  who  had  done  brave 
battle  for  her  freedom.  On  entering  Leavenworth,  although 
the  weather  was  most  inclement,  he  was  met  by  a  large  pro- 
cession of  people,  and  escorted  to  his  hotel,  while  a  dense 
crowd  gathered  upon  the  sidewalks  that  lined  the  passage. 


All  the  doors,  windows,  balconies  and  porticos  were  filled  with 
men,  women  and  children,  anxious  to  catch  a  glimpse  of  the 
man  whose  speeches  they  had  read,  and  of  whom  they  had 
heard  so  much.  The  Leavemvorth  Kegister,  in  its  notice  of 
the  occasion,  said: — "never  did  man  receive  such  honors  at 
the  hands  of  our  people,  and  never  did  our  people  pay  honors 
to  a  better  man,  or  one  who  has  been  a  truer  friend  of  Kan- 
sas." Here  he  made  a  speech,  and  the  following  paragraph, 
selected  from  it,  will  show  the  state  of  political  feeling  at  the 
time,  and  Mr.  Lincoln's  relation  to  it: 

"But  you  democrats  are  for  the  Union;  and  you  greatly  fear  the 
success  of  the  republicans  would  destroy  the  Union.  Why  ?  Do  the 
republicans  declare  against  the  Union?  Nothing  like  it.  Your  own 
statement  of  it  is  that  if  the  black  republicans  elect  a  president,  you 
'  wont  stand  it.'  You  will  break  up  the  Union.  That  will  be  your  act, 
not  ours.  To  justify  it,  you  must  show  that  our  policy  gives  you  just 
cause  for  such  desperate  action.  Can  you  do  that?  When  you  attempt 
it,  you  will  find  that  our  policy  is  exactly  the  policy  of  the  men  who 
made  the  Union — nothing  more,  nothing  less.  Do  you  really  think  you 
are  justified  to  break  up  the  government  rather  than  have  it  adminis- 
tered as  it  was  by  Washington  V  If  you  do,  you  are  very  unreasonable, 
and  more  reasonable  men  cannot  and  will  not  submit  to  you.  While 
you  elect  presidents,  we  submit,  neither  breaking  nor  attempting  to 
break  up  the  Union.  If  we  shall  constitutionally  elect  a  president,  it 
will  be  our  duty  to  see  that  you  also  submit.  Old  John  Brown  has 
been  executed  for  treason  against  a  state.  We  cannot  object,  even 
though  he  agreed  with  us  in  thinking  slavery  \vrong.  That  cannot  ex- 
cuse violence,  bloodshed  and  treason.  It  could  avail  him  nothing  that 
he  might  think  himself  right.  So,  if  we  constitutionally  elect  a  presi- 
dent, and,  therefore,  you  undertake  to  destroy  the  Union,  it  will  be  our 
duty  to  deal  with  you  as  old  John  Brown  has  been  dealt  with.  We 
shall  try  to  do  our  duty.  We  hope  and  believe  that  in  no  section  will  a 
majority  so  act  as  to  render  such  extreme  measures  necessary." 

In  September,  Mr.  Lincoln  paid  a  visit  to  Ohio,  following 
Mr.  Douglas,  and  made  two  speeches,  one  at  Columbus  and 
another  at  Cincinnati.  These  were  the  first  occasions  on 
which  he  had  ever  had  the  privilege  of  speaking  to  Ohio  aud- 
iences, and  the  introductions  to  these  speeches  betrayed  his 
diffidence.  In  Illinois  the  people  knew  and  understood  him. 


He  had  won  a  reputation  there,  but,  as  he  traveled  eastward, 
he  felt  himself  away  from  home.  The  names  of  Chase,  Cor- 
win  and  Wade  were  in  his  mind — eminent  speakers,  with 
whose  voices  the  people  of  Ohio  were  familiar — and  he  felt 
that  it  would  be  difficult  for  him  to  establish  his  position  as  a 
political  orator  when  brought  into  close  comparison  with  them. 
His  style  of  speech  and  mode  of  reasoning  he  knew  to  be  his 
own ;  and  he  had  misgivings  touching  their  reception  among 
those  whose  ideas  of  oratory  were  derived  from  other  models. 
But  these  misgivings  were  groundless.  His  plainness,  clear- 
ness, earnestness  and  thorough  comprehension  of  the  merits 
of  his  subject  secured  for  him  the  honest  admiration  and 
esteem  of  all  who  heard  him. 

At  Columbus,  he  devoted  himself  mainly  to  the  discussion 
of  a  few  points  of  an  elaborate  article  that  had  previously  ap- 
peared in  Harper's  Magazine,  from  the  pen  of  Judge  Douglas. 
In  this  article,  the  Senator  had  contrived  to  spread  throughout 
the  country  his  views  touching  the  relations  of  slavery  to  the 
Constitution.  It  was  the  old  talk  of  the  senatorial  campaign 
repeated  with  unimportant  variations,  though  with  some  new 
illustrations.  It  was  familiar  ground  with  Mr.  Lincoln ;  and, 
while  his  speech  was  a  new  one,  it  would  convey  but  few  new 
ideas  to  those  who  had  read  his  speeches  of  the  previous  au- 
tumn. Mr.  Douglas  had  preceded  him  at  Cincinnati,  and 
had  alluded  to  him  there.  It  was  the  battle  of  Illinois  re- 
peated upon  the  soil  of  Ohio.  The  contestants  were  the 
same — the  questions  upon  which  they  took  issue  were  the 
same.  Popular  sovereignty,  the  Dred  Scott  decision,  the  right 
and  wrong  of  slavery,  negro  equality,  the  nationalization  of 
slavery — these  subjects,  presented  and  illustrated  in  every  pos- 
sible way  already,  were  again  made  the  themes  of  discussion 
by  these  two  men ;  and  the  people  of  Ohio  gave  them  abund- 
ant audience.  One  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  most  effective  points  at 
Cincinnati  was  made  upon  the  assumption  that,  being  near 
the  Kentucky  border,  some  Kentuckians  were  present,  to 
whom  he  addressed  himself  in  an  attempt  to  prove  that  they 
ought  to  nominate  Judge  Douglas  at  Charleston,  as  peculiarly 


the  southern  candidate  for  the  presidency.  He  told  them  that 
Judge  Douglas  was  the  only  man  in  the  whole  nation  who 
gave  them  any  hold  of  the  free  states ;  and  then  he  proceeded 
to  show  that  Mr.  Douglas  was  as  sincerely,  and  quite  as  wisely, 
for  them,  as  they  were  for  themselves.  The  points  made 
in  this  part  of  the  speech  against  his  old  antagonist  were 
very  ingenious  and  very  damaging,  so  far  as  they  related 
to  his  standing  in  Ohio,  whatever  effect  they  may  have  had 
upon  the  possible  Kentuckians  in  the  audience.  After  telling 
them  that  they  must  take  Douglas  under  any  circumstances 
or  be  defeated,  and  that  it  was  possible,  if  they  did  take 
him,  that  they  might  be  beaten,  he  told  them  what  the  oppo- 
sition proposed  to  do  with  them  in  case  it  should  be  successful 
in  the  approaching  presidential  contest.  The  passage  is  worth 
quoting,  as  it  is  an  embodiment  of  the  policy  he  subsequently 
pursued  when,  the  opposition  having  succeeded,  he  found 
himself  endowed  with  the  responsibilities  of  office,  as  well 
as  a  prophecy  of  the  result  of  a  collision  then  conditionally 

"I  will  tell  you,  so  far  as  I  am  authorized  to  speak  for  the  opposition, 
what  we  mean  to  do  with  you.  We  mean  to  treat  you,  as  near  as 
we  possibly  can,  as  Washington,  Jefferson  and  Madison  treated  you. 
We  mean  to  leave  you  alone,  and  in  no  way  to  interfere  with  your  in- 
stitution; to  abide  by  all  and  every  compromise  of  the  Constitution, 
and,  in  a  word,  coming  back  to  the  original  proposition,  to  treat  you,  so 
far  as  degenerated  men  (if  we  have  degenerated)  may,  according  to  the 
examples  of  those  noble  fathers — Washington,  Jefferson  and  Madison. 
We  mean  to  remember  that  you  are  as  good  as  we ;  that  there  is  no 
difference  between  us  other  than  the  difference  of  circumstances.  We 
mean  to  recognize  and  bear  in  mind  always  that  you  have  as  good 
hearts  in  your  bosoms  as  other  people,  or  as  we  claim  to  have,  and 
treat  you  accordingly.  We  mean  to  marry  your  girls  when  we  have  a 
chance — the  white  ones  I  mean — and  I  have  the  honor  to  inform  you  that 
I  once  did  have  a  chance  in  that  way. 

"I  have  told  you  what  we  mean  to  do.  I  want  to  know,  now,  when 
that  thing  takes  place,  what  you  mean  to  do.  I  often  hear  it  intimated 
that  yon  mean  to  divide  the  Union  whenever  a  republican  or  anything 
like  it  is  elected  president  of  the  United  States.  [A  voice — '  That  is 
so.']  'That  is  so,'  one  of  them  says;  I  Avonder  if  he  is  a  Kentuckian? 



[A  voice — '  He  is  a  Douglas  man.']  Well,  then,  I  want  to  know  what 
you  are  going  to  do  with  your  half  of  it  ?  Are  you  going  to  split  the 
Ohio  down  through,  and  push  your  half  off  a  piece?  Or  are  you  going 
to  keep  it  right  alongside  of  us  outrageous  fellows?  Or  are  you  going 
to  build  up  a  wall  some  way  between  your  country  and  ours,  by  which 
that  movable  property  of  yours  can  't  come  over  here  any  more,  to  the 
danger  of  your  losing  it  ?  Do  you  think  you  can  better  yourselves  on 
that  subject,  by  leaving  us  here  under  no  obligation  whatever  to  return 
those  specimens  of  your  movable  property  that  come  hither  ?  You  have 
divided  the  Union  because  we  would  not  do  right  with  you,  as  you 
think,  upon  that  subject ;  when  we  cease  to  be  under  obligations  to  do 
anything  for  you,  how  much  better  off  do  you  think  you  will  be  ?  Will 
you  make  war  upon  us  and  kill  us  all  ?  Why,  gentlemen,  I  think  you 
are  as  gallant  and  as  brave  men  as  live  ;  that  you  can  fight  as  bravely  in 
a  good  cause,  man  for  man,  as  any  other  people  living;  that  you  have 
shown  yourselves  capable  of  this  upon  various  occasions;  but  man  for 
man,  you  are  not  better  than  we  are,  and  there  are  not  so  many  of  you 
as  there  are  of  us.  You  will  never  make  much  of  a  hand  at  whipping  us. 
If  we  were  fewer  in  numbers  than  you,  I  think  that  you  could  whip  us ; 
if  we  were  equal  it  would  likely  be  a  drawn  battle ;  but  being  inferior 
in  numbers,  you  will  make  nothing  by  attempting  to  master  us." 

It  is  proper  to  say  of  Mr.  Lincoln  and  Judge  Douglas  that 
no  two  men  in  the  nation  better  apprehended  the  real  nature 
of  the  struggle  between  the  North  and  South  than  they.  Mr. 
Douglas,  so  far  back  as  the  date  of  the  abrogation  of  the  Mis- 
souri Compromise,  foresaw  the  coming  conflict,  and  by  that 
measure  attempted  to  avert  it.  His  bringing  forward  that 
measure  at  a  time  when  the  South  did  not  demand  it,  could 
have  been  from  no  motive  other  than  his  wish  to  provide 
ground  upon  which  the  northern  and  southern  democracy 
could  stand  together,  in  the  presidential  contest  of  1860,  when 
it  was  his  expectation  to  be  their  candidate.  Slavery  was 
becoming  discontented  under  the  conviction  that  it  was  about 
to  lose  its  power.  It  found  itself  either  legally  or  practically 
shut  out  of  the  national  domain.  It  is  not  at  all  improbable 
that  the  Senator  knew  something  of  the  intrigues  of  those 

c5  O 

who  were  bent  on  disunion.  It  was  then  that  he  invented 
"popular  sovereignty" — what  he  was  accustomed  to  call  his 
"great  principle  " — and  there  was  indeed  nothing  foolish  in  the 


tenacity  with  which  he  clung  to  it.  It  was  his  only  ground 
of  hope  for  election  to  the  presidency.  He  had  no  personal 
responsibility  for  the  Dred  Scott  decision.  It  was  not  for  him 
to  say  what  the  rights  of  slavery  were  among  the  people  of 
a  territory ;  but  he  was  willing  to  take  the  responsibility  of 
giving  slavery  and  freedom  the  same  rights.  There  was  great 
plausibility  in  his  view,  and  he  had  little  difficulty  in  car- 
rying his  party  with  him.  It  was  a  sort  of  neutral  ground — 
speciously  it  was  catholic  ground.  His  intention  was  to  give 
slavery  a  chance  to  enter  territory  then  free, — territory  forever 
set  apart  to  freedom.  If  he  did  not  intend  to  give  this  chance, 
his  movement  was  without  motive.  On  this  chance,  he  in- 
tended, without  doubt,  to  build  up  a  claim  upon  southern 
support ;  but  he  had  a  heavy  load  to  carry,  as  events  proved. 
Mr.  Lincoln  was  a  thorn  in  his  side.  If  he  spoke  in  Illinois, 
Mr.  Lincoln  challenged  him  to  debate,  and  exposed  his  falla- 
cies. If  he  went  to  Ohio,  Mr.  Lincoln  followed  close  upon 
his  heels.  If  he  betook  himself  to  a  New  York  publication, 
Mr.  Lincoln  took  measures  practically  to  meet  him  there. 

Mr.  Lincoln's  opportunity  to  meet  his  antagonist  in  the 
press  of  New  York  came  through  an  invitation  to  speak  in 
Brooklyn,  at  Mr.  Beecher's  church.  This  speech,  which  it  was 
finally  Concluded  should  be  delivered  at  the  Cooper  Institute, 
in  New  York,  was  by  many  regarded  as  the  best  he  ever 
made.  It  was  the  last  elaborate  speech  of  his  life,  and  was 
spread  broadcast  over  the  country  by  the  press  of  the  city. 

Mr.  Lincoln  arrived  in  the  great  metropolis  on  the  25th  of 
February,  1860.  He  expected,  as  has  been  stated,  to  speak 
at  Mr.  Beecher's  church  in  Brooklyn,  and  had  prepared  his 
address  with  some  reference  to  the  place.  On  learning  that 
he  was  expected  to  speak  in  New  York,  he  said  he  must  re- 
view his  speech.  He  reached  the  Astor  House  on  Saturday, 
and  spent  the  whole  day  in  making  such  modifications  of  his 
manuscript  as  seemed  necessary,  under  the  change  of  circum- 
stances. On  Sunday,  he  attended  upon  Mr.  Beecher's  preach- 
ing, and  seemed  to  take  great  satisfaction  in  the  services. 
When  waited  upon  on  Monday,  by  representative  members 


of  the  Republican  Club,  under  whose  auspices  he  was  to  ap- 
pear, he  was  found  encased  in  a  new  and  badly  wrinkled  suit 
of  black,  which  had  evidently  spent  too  much  time  in  a  small 
valise.  He  talked  freely  of  the  unbecoming  dress,  and,  like  a 
boy,  expressed  his  surprise  at  finding  himself  in  the  great  city. 
On  being  applied  to  for  slips  containing  the  speech  of  the  eve- 
ning, he  showed  that  he  was  not  familiar  with  the  habit  of 
eastern  speakers  of  supplying  such  slips  to  the  press  in  ad- 
vance, and  even  expressed  the  doubt  whether  any  of  the  papers 
would  care  to  publish  it  entire.  During  the  interview,  he 
referred  frequently  to  Mr.  Douglas,  and  in  so  kind  and  cor- 
dial a  manner  that  it  was  impossible  to  regard  him  as  that 
gentleman's  personal  enemy  in  any  sense.* 

Being  at  leisure  during  the  day,  he  accepted  an  invitation 
to  ride  about  the  city.  Some  of  the  more  important  streets 
were  passed  through,  and  a  number  of  large  establishments 
visited.  At  one  place,  he  met  an  old  acquaintance  from  Illi- 
nois, whom  he  addressed  with  an  inquiry  as  to  how  he  had 
fared  since  leaving  the  West.  "I  have  made  a  hundred  thou- 
sand dollars,  and  lost  all,"  was  his  reply.  Then  turning  ques- 
tioner he  said:  "How  is  it  with  you,  Mr.  Lincoln?"  "Oh 
very  well,"  said  he;  "I  have  the  cottage  at  Springfield,  and 
about  eight  thousand  dollars  in  money.  If  they  make  me 
vice-president  with  Seward,  as  some  say  they  will,  I  hope  I 
shall  be  able  to  increase  it  to  twenty  thousand ;  and  that  is  as 
much  as  any  man  ought  to  want." 

In  a  photographic  establishment  on  Broadway,  he  met  and 
was  introduced  to  George  Bancroft,  the  historian.  The  con- 
tras't  which  he  presented  in  his  person  and  manner  to  this 
gentleman  was  certainly  not  to  his  advantage ;  but  his  bluff, 
hearty  way  carried  all  before  it.  He  informed  Mr.  Bancroft 
that  he  was  on  his  way  to  Massachusetts  where  he  had  a  son 
in  college,  who,  if  report  were  true,  already  knew  much  more 
than  his  father. 

He  was  to  speak  at  Cooper  Institute  that  night,  and  having 
caught  a  glimpse  of  the  great  capital  and  of  its  gigantic  in- 
*  R.  C.  McCormick,  in  the  New  York  Evening  Post. 


terests  and  affairs,  it  is  not  strange  that  he  should  have  been 
oppressed  with  a  sense  of  his  own  insignificance.  It  was  one 
of  his  peculiarities  that,  while  he  was  the  subject  of  the  most 
exalted  aspirations  and  ambitions,  and  the  ready  undertaker 
of  the  highest  and  most  difficult  tasks,  he  always  bore  about 
with  him  a  sense  of  his  imperfections,  and  experienced  a  sort 
of  surprise  at  every,  success.  Indeed,  his  triumphs  became 
the  subjects  of  his  study.  They  really  puzzled  him;  and 
frequent  conversations  with  others  betrayed  his  desire  to  find 
the  secrets  of  his  own  power. 

But  Mr.  Lincoln  was  not  more  curious  concerning  himself,  or 
concerning  the  new  scenes  among  which  he  found  himself,  than 
the  people  of  New  York  were  concerning  him.  There  was 
a  great  and  general  curiosity  to  see  and  hear  him :  and  when 
he  entered  the  hall  he  found  the  platform  covered  with  the 
republican  leaders  of  the  city,  and  of  Brooklyn,  and,  in  his 
audience,  many  ladies.  The  venerable  William  Cullen  Bryant 
presided,  and  in  introducing  the  speaker  said:  "It  is  a  grate- 
ful office  that  I  perform,  in  introducing  to  you  an  eminent 
citizen  of  the  West,  hitherto  known  to  you  only  by  reputa- 
tion." There  was  nothing  in  the  introduction,  however, 
which  pleased  Mr.  Lincoln  so  much  as  Mr.  Bryant's  state- 
ment in  the  next  day's  Evening  Post,  (of  which  he  was  the 
editor)  that  for  the  publication  of  such  words  of  weight  and 
wisdom  as  those  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  the  pages  of  that  journal 
were  "indefinitely  elastic." 

Mr.  Lincoln  began  his  address  in  a  low,  monotonous  tone, 
but  gaining  confidence  in  the  respectful  stillness,  his  tones, 
that  had  long  been  keyed  to  out-of-door  efforts,  rose  in  strength 
and  gained  in  clearness,  until  every  ear  heard  every  word. 
His  style  of  speech  was  so  fresh,  his  mode  of  statement  was 
so  simple,  his  illustrations  were  so  quaint  and  peculiar,  that 
the  audience  eagerly  drank  in  every  sentence.  The  back- 
woods orator  had  found  one  of  the  most  appreciative  audiences 
he  had  ever  addressed,  and  the  audience  gave  abundant  testi- 
mony that  they  were  listening  to  the  utterances  of  a  master. 

The  speech  which  Mr.  Lincoln  made  on  this  occasion  must 


have  cost  him  much  labor  in  the  preparation.  The  historical 
study  which  it  involved — study  that  led  into  unexplored  fields, 
and  fields  very  difficult  of  exploration — must  have  been  very 
great;  but  it  was  intimate  and  complete.  Gentlemen  who 
afterward  engaged  in  preparing  the  speech  for  circulation  as 
a  campaign  document  were  much  surprised  by  the  amount  of 
research  that  it  required  to  be  able  to  make  the  speech,  and 
were  very  much  wearied  with  the  work  of  verifying  its  his- 
torical statements  in  detail.  They  were  weeks  in  finding  the 
works  consulted  by  him. 

As  a  text  for  the  subject  of  his  discourse,  he  took  the  words 
of  Senator  Douglas,  uttered  in  a  speech  at  Columbus,  Ohio, 
the  previous  autumn,  viz :  "  Our  fathers  when  they  framed  the 
government  under  which  we  live,  understood  this  question 
(the  question  of  slavery)  just  as  well,  and  even  better,  than 
we  do  now."  To  this  statement  the  speaker  agreed,  so  that 
he  and  the  senator  had  a  common  starting  point  for  discussion. 
The  inquiry  was,  simply:  what  was  the  understanding  those 
fathers  had  of  the  question  mentioned  ?  As  questions  prelimin- 
ary to  this  inquiry  he  gave  these :  "  what  is  the  frame  of  gov- 
ernment under  which  we  live?"  and  "who  were  our  fathers 
who  framed  the  Constitution?"  The  frame  of  government 
is  the  Constitution  itself,  consisting  of  the  original,  framed 
in  1787,  and  twelve  subsequent  amendments,  ten  of  which 
were  framed  in  1789.  The  thirty-nine  men  who  framed  the 
original  Constitution  are  legitimately  to  be  called  the  fathers, 
and  these  he  took  as  "  our  fathers  who  framed  the  govern- 
ment under  which  we  live."  The  question  fully  written 
out,  which  Senator  Douglas  thought  these  men  understood 

*  DO 

better  than  we  do,  was :  "  Does  the  proper  division  of  local 
from  federal  authority,  or  anything  in  the  Constitution,  forbid 
the  federal  government  control  as  to  slavery  in  our  federal 

From  this  point  Mr.  Lincoln  went  on  to  draw  from  the  his- 
tory of  Congress  every  recorded  act  of  these  thirty-nine  men 
on  the  question  of  slavery.  Question  after  question  upon 
which  these  men  acted  was  stated  in  brief,  and  it  was  found 


that,  of  the  thirty-nine  fathers,  twenty-one,  a  clear  majority, 
so  acted  that  they  would  be  guilty  of  perjury  if  they  did  not 
believe  that  the  federal  government  had  power  to  control 
slavery  in  the  territories.  Two  voted  against  special  meas- 
ures, but  in  such  a  way  as  not  to  show  whether  they  believed 
the  government  possessed  this  power  or  not.  Of  the  remain- 
ing sixteen,  there  is  no  record,  but  it  is  fair  to  conclude  they 
had  the  same  understanding  with  the  majority,  particularly  as 
they  included  some  of  the  most  noted  anti-slavery  men  of  the 
time,  among  whom  were  Benjamin  Franklin,  Alexander  Ham- 
ilton and  Gouverneur  Morris. 

The  historical  argument  was  entirely  unanswerable.  It 
was  a  solid  and  logical  statement  of  facts  and  conclusions  that 
no  sane  man  would  undertake  to  controvert.  The  first  third 
of  the  speech  was  devoted  to  this  historical  argument,  and 
the  remainder  in  about  equal  proportions  to  addresses  to  the 
southern  people,  and  to  the  republicans.  His  remarks  ad- 
dressed particularly  to  the  South  were  in  the  kindest  spirit, 
but  they  were  charged  with  a  force  of  argument  and  statement 
that  is  wonderful.  It  is  well  that  Mr.  Lincoln  be  permitted 
to  state  his  own  attitude  toward  those  to  whom  he  was  des- 
tined to  come  intc  such  strange  and  momentous  relations. 
He  said: 

"You  say  we  are  sectional.  We  deny  it.'  That  makes  an  issue; 
and  the  burden  of  proof  is  upon  you.  You  produce  your  proof;  and 
what  is  it?  Why,  that  our  party  has  no  existence  in  your  section — gets 
no  votes  in  your  section.  The  fact  is  substantially  true ;  but  does  it 
prove  the  issue?  If  it  does,  then,  in  case  we  should,  without  change  of 
principle,  begin  to  get  votes  in  your  .section,  we -should  thereby  cease  to 
be  sectional.  You  cannot  escape  this  conclusion ;  and  yet,  are  you  will- 
ing to  abide  by  it?  If  you  are,  you  will  probably  soon  find  that  we 
have  ceased  to  be  sectional,  for  we  shall  get  votes  in  your  section  this 
very  year.  You  will  then  begin  to  discover,  as  the  truth  plainly  is,  that 
your  proof  does  not  touch  the  issue.  The  fact  that  we  get  no  votes  in 
your  section  is  a  fact  of  your  making,  and  not  of  ours.  And  if  there 
be  fault  in  that  fact,  that  fault  is  primarily  yours,  and  remains  so  until 
you  show  that  we  repel  you  by  some  wrong  principle  or  practice.  If 
we  do  repel  you  by  any  wrong  principle  or  practice,  the  fault  is  ours ; 
but  this  brings  us  to  where  you  ought  to  have  started — to  a  discussion 


of  the  right  or  wrong  of  our  principle.  If  our  principle,  put  in  prac- 
tice, would  wrong  your  section  for  the  benefit  of  ours,  or  for  any  other 
object,  then  our  principle,  and  we  with  it,  are  sectional,  and  are  justly 
opposed  and  denounced  as  such.  Meet  us,  then,  on  the  question  of 
whether  our  principle,  put  in  practice,  would  wrong  your  section;  and 
so  meet  it  as  if  it  were  possible  that  something  may  be  said  on  our  side. 
Do  you  accept  the  challenge  ?  No  ?  Then  you  really  believe  that  the 
principle  which  our  fathers,  who  framed  the  government  under  which, 
we  live,  thought  so  clearly  right  as  to  adopt  it,  and  indorse  it  again  and 
again  upon  their  official  oaths,  is,  in  fact,  so  clearly  wrong  as  to  demand 
your  condemnation  without  a  moment's  consideration. 

"  Some  of  you  delight  to  flaunt  in  our  faces  the  warning  against  sec- 
tional parties  given  by  Washington  in  his  Farewell  Address.  Less  than 
eight  years  before  Washington  gave  that  warning,  he  had,  as  President 
of  the  United  States,  approved  and  signed  an  act  of  Congress  enforcing 
the  prohibition  of  slavery  in  the  Northwestern  Territory,  which  act  em- 
bodied the  policy  of  the  government  upon  that  subject,  up  to  and  at 
the  very  moment  he  penned  that  warning;  and  about  one  year  after  he 
penned  it  he  wrote  Lafayette  that  he  considered  that  prohibition  a  wise 
measure,  expressing,  in  the  same  connection,  his  hope  that  we  should 
some  time  have  a  confederacy  of  free  states. 

"  Bearing  this  in  mind,  and  seeing  that  sectionalism  has  since  arisen 
upon  this  same  subject,  is  that  warning  a  weapon  in  your  hands  against 
us,  or  in  our  hands  against  you?  Could  Washington  himself  speak, 
would  he  cast  the  blame  of  that  sectionalism  upon  us,  who  sustain  his 
policy,  or  upon  you,  who  repudiate  it?  We  respect  that  warning  of 
Washington,  and  we  commend  it  to  you,  together  with  his  example 
pointing  to  the  right  application  of  it. 

"  But  you  say  you  are  conservative— eminently  conservative — while 
we  are  revolutionary,  destructive,  or  something  of  the  sort.  What  is 
conservatism  ?  Is  it  not  adherence  to  the  old  and  tried  against  the  new 
and  untried  ?  We  stick  to,  contend  for,  the  identical  old  policy  on  the 
point  in  controversy  which  was  adopted  by  our  fathers  who  framed  the 
government  tinder  which  we  live ;  while  you,  with  one  accord,  reject, 
and  scout,  and  spit  upon  that  old  policy,  and  insist  upon  substituting 
something  new.  True,  you  disagree  among  yourselves  as  to  what  that 
substitute  shall  be.  You  have  considerable  variety  of  new  propo- 
sitions and  plans,  but  yoii  are  unanimous  in  rejecting  and  denouncing 
the  old  policy  of  the  fathers.  Some  of  you  are  for  reviving  the  foreign 
slave-trade ;  some  for  a  congressional  slave-code  for  the  territories ; 
some  for  Congress  forbidding  the  territories  to  prolu'bit  slavery  within 
their  limits;  some  for  maintaining  slavery  in  the  territories  through  the 
Judiciary ;  some  for  the  'gur-reat  pur-rinciple '  that,  'if  one  man  would 
enslave  another,  no  third  man  should  object,'  fantastically  called  '  popu- 


lar  sovereignty;'  but  never  a  man  among  you  in  favor  of  federal  pro- 
hibition of  slavery  in  federal  territories,  according  to  the  practice  of 
our  fathers  who  framed  the  government  under  -which  we  live.  Not  one 
of  all  your  various  plans  can  show  a  precedent  or  an  advocate  in  the 
century  within  which  our  government  originated.  Consider,  then, 
whether  your  claim  of  conservatism  for  yourselves,  and  your  charge  of 
destructiveness  against  us,  are  based  on  the  most  clear  and  stable  foun- 

"  Again,  you  say  we  have  made  the  slavery  question  more  prominent 
than  il  formerly  was.  We  deny  it.  We  admit  that  it  is  more  promi- 
nent, but  we  deny  that  we  made  it  so.  It  was  not  we,  but  you,  who 
discarded  the  old  policy  of  the  fathers.  We  resisted,  and  still  resist, 
your  innovation;  and  thence  conies  tke  greater  prominence  of  the 
question.  Would  you  have  that  question  reduced  to  its  former  propor- 
tions ?  Go  back  to  that  old  policy.  What  has  been  will  be  again, 
under  the  same  conditions.  If  you  would  have  the  peace  of  the  old 
times,  re-adopt  the  precepts  and  policy  of  the  old  times." 

Alluding  to  their  threats  to  break  up  the  Union  if  slavery- 
should  be  shut  out  of  the  territories,  he  said: 

"  In  that  supposed  event,  you  say  you  will  destroy  the  Union ;  and 
then  you  say  the  great  crime  of  having  destroyed  it  will  be  upon  us! 
That  is  cool.  A  highwayman  holds  a  pistol  to  my  ear,  and  mutters 
through  his  teeth :  '  Stand  and  deliver,  or  I  shall  kill  you,  and  then  you 
will  be  a  murderer ! '  To  be  sure,  what  the  robber  demanded  of  me — 
my  money — was  my  own ;  and  I  had  a  clear  right  to  keep  it ;  but  it  was 
i  no  more  my  own  than  my  vote  is  my  own ;  and  threat  of  death  to  me 
to  extort  my  money,  and  threat  of  destruction  to  the  Union  to  extort 
my  vote,  can  scarcely  be  distinguished  in  principle." 

Certainly  this  illustration  disposed  of  the  whole  question  as 
to  who  would  be  responsible  for  the  destruction  of  the  Union, 
under  the  circumstances  stated. 

His  words  to  the  republicans  were  words  of  profoundest 
wisdom.  He  told  them  that  nothing  would  satisfy  the  South 
but  to  cease  calling  slavery  wrong,  and  to  join  with  them  in 
calling  it  right,  and  to  do  it  thoroughly  by  acts  as  well  as 
words.  "  We  must  arrest  and  return  their  slaves  with  greedy 
pleasure.  We  must  pull  down  our  free  state  constitutions. 
The  whole  atmosphere  must  be  disinfected  from  all  taint  of 
opposition  to  slavery,  before  they  will  cease  to  believe  that  all 


their  troubles  proceed  from  us."  He  continued :  "  I  am  quite 
aware  they  do  not  state  their  case  precisely  in  this  way.  Most 
of  them  would  probably  say  to  us,  'let  us  alone,  do  nothing 
to  us,  and  say  what  you  please  about  slavery.'  But  we  do 
let  them  alone — have  never  disturbed  them — so  that,  after  all, 
it  is  what  we  say  that  dissatisfies  them.  They  will  continue 
to  accuse  us  of  doing  until  we  cease  saying."  After  saying 
that  we  could  not  consistently  deny  the  South  in  its  most  ex- 
treme demands,  on  any  ground  except  the  wrong  of  slavery,  he 
put  the  case  forcibly,  as  follows :  "  If  slavery  is  right,  all  words, 
acts,  laws  and  constitutions  against  it  are  themselves  wrong, 
and  should  be  silenced  and  swept  away.  If  it  is  right,  we 
cannot  justly  object  to  its  nationality — its  universality;  if  it  is 
wrong,  they  cannot  justly  insist  upon  its  extension,  its  enlarge- 
ment. All  they  ask,  we  could  readily  grant  if  we  thought 
slavery  right;  all  we  ask  they  could  as  readily  grant  if  they 
thought  slavery  wrong.  Their  thinking  it  right  and  our  think- 
ing it  wrong  is  the  precise  fact  upon  which  depends  the  whole 
controversy."  The  closing  paragraph  is  equally  remarkable 
for  its  wit  and  wisdom — its  pith  and  patriotism: 

"  Wrong  as  we  think  slavery  is,  we  can  yet  afford  to  let  it  alone  where 
it  is,  because  that  much  is  due  to  the  necessity  arising  from  its  actual 
presence  in  the  nation ;  but  can  we,  while  our  votes  will  prevent  it, 
allow  it  to  spread  into  the  national  territories,  and  to  overrun  us  here 
in  these  free  states  ?  If  our  sense  of  duty  forbids  this,  then  let  us  stand 
by  our  duty,  fearlessly  and  effectively.  Let  us  be  diverted  by  none  of 
those  sophistical  contrivances  wherewith  we  are  so  industriously  plied 
and  belabored — contrivances  such  as  groping  for  some  middle  ground 
between  the  right  and  the  wrong,  vain  as  the  search  for  a  man  who 
should  be  neither  a  living  man  nor  a  dead  man — such  as  a  policy  of 
'don't  care'  on  a  question  about  which  all  true  men  do  care — such  as 
Union  appeals  beseeching  true  Union  men  to  yield  to  disunionists,  re- 
versing the  divine  rule,  and  calling  not  the  sinners,  but  the  righteous  to 
repentance — such  as  invocations  to  Washington,  imploring  men  to  un- 
say what  Washington  said,  and  undo  what  Washington  did.  Neither 
let  us  be  slandered  from  our  duty  by  false  accusations  against  us,  nor 
frightened  from  it  by  menaces  of  destruction  to  the  Government,  nor  of 
dungeons  to  ourselves.  Let  us  have  faith  that  right  makes  might,  and  in 
that  faith,  let  us,  to  the  end,  dare  to  do  our  duty,  as  we  understand  fa* 


The  speech  was,  in  the  popular  acceptation  of  the  phrase,  a 
great  success.  Through  all  his  passages  of  close  and  crowded 
reasoning,  his  audience  followed  him  with  an  interest  that  pro- 
duced the  profoundest  silence,  and  at  every  triumphant  es- 
tablishment of  a  point  broke  out  into  sudden  and  hearty 
applause.  Those  who  came  from  motives  of  curiosity  went 
away  thoughtful.  Many  who  had  entered  the  hall  in  doubt 
as  to  their  duty,  went  away  with  their  path  bright  before  them. 
Most  of  all  were  the  New  York  politicians  affected ;  and  it  is 
not  to  be  doubted  that  the  impressions  of  that  evening  left 
them  convinced  that  if  Mr.  Seward,  the  man  of  their  choice, 
should  be  set  aside,  as  the  republican  candidate  for  the  presi- 
dency, Mr.  Lincoln,  the  favorite  of  the  West,  would  be  abund- 
antly worthy  of  their  support. 

At  the  conclusion  of  the  speech,  a  few  friends  took  the 
speaker  to  the  rooms  of  the  Atheneum  Club  for  supper.  Mr. 
Lincoln  appreciated  his  success,  and  was  in  good  humor  over 
it.  He  was  as  happy  at  the  table  as  he  was  upon  the  plat- 
form— full  of  good  humor,  and  abounding  with  jokes  and 
pleasant  stories.  Throwing  off  all  reserve,  and  opening  his 
heart  like  a  boy,  he  talked  long  and  late ;  and  when  he  parted 
with  his  friends  for  the  night  they  were  as  much  charmed  with 
the  man  as  they  had  been  instructed  by  his  speech  and  enter- 
tained by  his  conversation. 

The  papers  of  the  city  were  full  of  his  address  and  with 
comments  upon  it  the  next  day.  The  Illinois  lawyer  was  a 
lion.  Critics  read  the  speech,  and  marveled  at  its  pure  and 
compact  English,  its  felicity  of  statement  and  its  faultless  logic. 
It  was  read  during  the  day  not  only  by  New  York  but  by 
nearly  all  New  England. 

After  the  speech,  he  spent  several  days  in  New  York,  famil- 
iarizing himself  with  its  wonders.  Some  of  his  explorations 
he  made  alone,  and  on  one  occasion  found  his  way  into  the 
Sunday  School  of  the  Five  Points  Mission.  The  superin- 
tendent noticing  his  look  of  interest  in  the  proceedings,  invi- 
ted him  to  speak  to  the  children.  His  remarks  interested  his 
young  audience  so  much  that  on  every  attempt  to  stop  they 


cried  out  "go  on,  oh!  do  go  on!"  None  knew  who  he  was, 
and  as  he  turned  to  depart,  the  superintendent  inquired  his 
name.  "Abraham  Lincoln  of  Illinois,"  was  the  answer. 

Invitations  were  received  by  Mr.  Lincoln  from  many  places 
in  New  England,  to  speak  on  political  questions.  On  the  fifth 
of  March,  he  spoke  at  Hartford,  in  the  city  hall,  and  was  es- 
corted to  the  hall  by  the  first  company  of  "  Wide- Awakes  "  ever 
organized  in  the  country.  This  organization  became  universal 
throughout  the  free  states,  but  was  intended  only  for  campaign 
service.  He  had  an  immense  audience  in  Hartford,  and  pro- 
duced a  powerful  impression.  On  the  following  day  he  was 
waited  upon  by  a  number  of  prominent  citizens,  and  visited 
several  objects  of  interest  in  the  city,  among  which  were  the 
armories  of  Colt  and  Sharp.  On  the  sixth  of  March,  he  spoke 
at  New  Haven,  at  Meriden  on  the  seventh,  at  Woonsocket, 
Rhode  Island,  on  the  eighth,  at  Norwich,  Connecticut,  on  the 
ninth,  and  at  Bridgeport  on  the  tenth.  His  speaking  was 
always  to  immense  audiences.  Connecticut  was  that  year 
carried  by  the  republicans  by  about  five  hundred  majority, 
against  the  most  powerful  efforts  of  the  democrats — a  fact 
which  was  due  more  to  the  speeches  of  Mr.  Lincoln  than  to 
any  other  cause. 

Some  very  interesting  reminiscences  of  this  trip  were  com- 
municated to  the  public  in  1884,  by  Rev.  John  P.  Gulliver  of 
Norwich,  who  listened  to  his  address  in  that  city.*  On  the 
morning  following  the  speech,  he  met  Mr.  Lincoln  upon  a  train 
of  cars,  and  entered  into  conversation  with  him.  In  speaking 
of  his  speech,  Mr.  Gulliver  remarked  to  Mr.  Lincoln  that  he 
thought  it  the  most  remarkable  one  he  ever  heard.  "  Are  you 
sincere  in  what  you  say?"  inquired  Mr.  Lincoln.  "I  mean 
every  word  of  it,"  replied  the  minister.  "  Indeed,  sir,"  he 
continued,  "I  learned  more  of  the  art  of  public  speaking  last 
evening  than  I  could  from  a  whole  course  of  lectures  on  rhet> 
oric."  Then  Mr.  Lincoln  informed  him  of  "a  most  extraor-. 
dinary  circumstance"  that  occurred  at  New  Haven  a  few  days 
previously.  A  professor  of  rhetoric  in  Yale  College,  he  had 
York  Independent  of  September  1, 1864. 


been  told,  came  to  hear  him,  took  notes  of  his  speech,  and 
gave  a  lecture  on  it  to  his  class  the  following  day ;  and,  not 
satisfied  with  that,  followed  him  to  Meriden  the  next  evening, 
and  heard  him  again  for  the  same  purpose.  All  this  seemed 
to  Mr.  Lincoln  to  be  "very  extraordinary."  He  had  been 
sufficiently  astonished  by  his  success  at  the  West,  but  he  had 
no  expectation  of  any  marked  success  at  the  East,  particularly 
among  literary  and  learned  men.  "Now,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln, 
"I  should  like  very  much  to  know  what  it  was  in  my  speech 
which  you  thought  so  remarkable,  and  which  interested  my 
friend  the  professor  so  much?"  Mr.  Gulliver's  answer  was: 
"The  clearness  of  your  statements,  the  unanswerable  style  of 
your  reasoning,  and,  especially,  your  illustrations,  which  were 
romance  and  pathos  and  fun  and  logic  all  welded  together." 

After  Mr.  Gulliver  had  fully  satisfied  his  curiosity  by  a 
further  exposition  of  the  politician's  peculiar  power,  Mr. 
Lincoln  said,  "  I  am  much  obliged  to  you  for  this.  I  have 
been  wishing  for  a  long  time  to  find  some  one  who  would  make 
this  analysis  for  me.  It  throws  light  on  a  subject  which  has 
been  dark  to  me.  I  can  understand  very  readily  how  such  a 
power  as  you  have  ascribed  to  me  will  account  for  the  effect 
which  seems  to  be  produced  by  my  speeches.  I  hope  you 
have  not  been  too  flattering  in  your  estimate.  Certainly  I 
have  had  a  most  wonderful  success  for  a  man  of  my  limited 
education."  Then  Mr.  Gulliver  inquired  into  the  processes 
by  which  he  had  acquired  his  education,  and  was  rewarded 
with  many  interesting  details.  When  they  were  about  to 
part,  the  minister  said :  "  Mr.  Lincoln,  may  I  say  one  thing  to 
you  before  we  separate  ?  "  "  Certainly ;  anything  you  please," 
was  the  response.  "  You  have  just  spoken,"  said  Mr.  Gulli- 
ver, "  of  the  tendency  of  political  life  in  Washington  to  debase 
the  moral  convictions  of  our  representatives  there,  by  the  ad- 
mixture of  considerations  of  mere  political  expediency.  You 
have  become,  by  the  controversy  with  Mr.  Douglas,  one  of 
our  leaders  in  this  great  struggle  with  slavery,  which  is  un- 
doubtedly the  struggle  of  the  nation  and  the  age.  What  I 
would  like  to  say  is  this,  and  I  say  it  with  a  full  heart :  Be 


true  to  your  principles,  and  we  will  be  true  to  you,  and  God  witt 
be  true  to  us  all."  Mr.  Lincoln,  touched  by  the  earnestness 
of  his  interlocutor,  took  his  hand  in  both  of  his  own,  and, 
with  his  face  full  of  sympathetic  light,  exclaimed:  "I  say 
amen  to  that!  amen  to  that!" 

After  visiting  his  son  at  Harvard  College,  making  many  ac- 
quaintances among  the  prominent  men  of  New  England,  and 
looking  with  curious  eyes  upon  New  England  scenes,  and  ob- 
serving with  his  native  shrewdness  the  characteristics  of  New 


England  habits  and  manners,  he  turned  his  face  homewards. 

O  * 

spending  a  Sabbath  in  New  York  while  on  the  way,  and 
again  attending  Mr.  Beecher's  church. 

One  thing,  at  least,  he  had  learned  by  this  visit :  that  the 
people  ot  the  older  states  judge  a  man  by  the  same  rule  that 
prevails  on  an  Illinois  prairie — by  what  he  is,  and  what  he 
can  do,  and  not  by  the  cloth  he  wears,  the  knowledge  he  has 
acquired,  the  wealth  he  possesses,  or  the  blood  that  flows  in 
his  veins.  He  had  been  accepted  as  an  honest,  fresh,  original 
and  powerful  man;  and  he  went  home  gratified.  Could  he 
have  made  his  visit  longer,  and  been  seen  more  generally  by 
the  people,  it  would  not  have  been  necessary  for  them  to  wait 
so  long  before  knowing  how  great  and  good  a  man  the  provi- 
dence of  God  had  given  to  be  their  ruler. 


THE  frequent  allusions  in  Mr.  Lincoln's  speeches  to  threats 
of  secession  'on  the  part  of  the  South,  in  the  event  of  the 
success  of  the  republican  party,  have  already  shown  the 
reader  that  secession  had  become  a  matter  of  consideration 
and  discussion  among  those  interested  in  the  perpetuation  and 
nationalization  of  slavery.  It  was  evident  that  the  southern 
leaders  were  preparing  the  minds  of  their  people  for  some 
desperate  step,  and  that  many  of  them  desired,  rather  than 
deprecated,  the  election  of  a  republican  president.  Many  of 
them  openly  said  that  they  should  prefer  the  election  of  Mr. 
Seward  or  Mr.  Lincoln  to  the  election  of  Mr.  Douglas,  be- 
cause then  they  should  know  exactly  what  they  were  to  meet. 
The  reason  thus  given  was  undoubtedly  a  fraud.  They  found 
themselves  in  desperate  circumstances.  All  their  schemes  for 
the  extension  of  slavery  and  the  reinforcement  of  the  slave 
power  had  miscarried.  Kansas  and  California  were  lost  to 
them.  There  was  no  hope  for  them  in  Nebraska  or  any  of 
the  new  territories.  The  hope  of  acquiring  Cuba  was  gone, 
and  the  filibustering  operations  of  Walker  which  they  had 
patronized  were  failures.  They  knew  of  but  one  remedy — 
that  which  the  great  mischief-maker  of  South  Carolina  had 
pointed  out  to  them  many  years  before,  viz :  secession.  It  is 
doubtful  whether  they  preferred  secession  to  predominance  in 
the  nation,  but,  basing  their  policy  on  the  doctrine  of  "  state 
rights,"  their  aim  was  to  secede,  and  either  to  insist  on  a  per- 
manent separation,  or  by  secession  to  coerce  the  government 


into  the  practical  acknowledgment  of  their  claims.  There  is 
no  doubt  that  it  was  the  policy  of  the  shrewdest  of  the  slavery- 
propagandists  so  to  manage  their  party  as  to  secure  the  election 
of  a  republican  president.  Overpowered  in  the  nation,  and 
hopeless  of  the  future,  they  looked  only  for  a  plausible  pretext 
for  precipitating  the  execution  of  their  scheme ;  and  this  could 
only  be  found  in  the  election  of  a  president  prpfessedly  a  foe 
to  the  extension  of  slavery. 

"  The  Knights  of  the  Golden  Circle  "  were  a  band  of  secret 
conspirators  organized  in  the  interest  of  treason.  The  popular 
political  leaders  rose  to  the  highest  degrees  in  this  order,  and 
knew  the  whole  plot,  while  the  masses,  many  of  whom  had 
no  real  sympathy  with  secession,  were  kept  in  the  dark,  ready 
to  be  forced  into  measures*  that  were  in  cunning  and  careful 
preparation.  The  Christian  church  of  the  whole  South  was 
the  willing  slave  of  this  cabal.  Preachers  proclaimed  the 
divine  right  of  slavery  and  the  doctrines  of  sedition  from  the 
pulpit.  The  press  was  an  obedient  instrument  in  their  hands. 
There  were  traitors  and  plotters  in  the  national  government, 
industriously  preparing  the  way  for  secession,  and  sapping  the 
power  of  the  government  to  prevent  it.  Mr.  Cobb  was 
squandering  the  national  finances.  Mr.  Floyd,  the  secretary 
of  war,  was  filling  all  the  southern  arsenals  with  arms  at  the 
expense  of  the  government,  and  sending  loyal  officers  to  distant 
posts ;  and,  although  a  northern  man  was  at  the  head  of  the 
navy  department,  it  was  subsequently  found,  when  ships  were 
wanted,  that  they  were  very  far  from  where  they  were  wanted. 
These  southern  men,  thus  plotting,  only  waited  for  a  pretext 
for  springing  their  plot  upon  the  people,  and  of  course  were 
not  reluctant  to  make  a  pretext  when  opportunity  offered. 

This  was  the  condition  of  affairs  in  the  spring  of  1860,  a 
year  which  was  to  see  a  new  president  elected.  Everybody 
felt  that  a  severe  political  storm  was  ahead,  though  compara- 
tively few,  either  at  the  North  or  the  South,  knew  what  its 
character  would  be.  The  South  blindly  followed  its  leaders, 
without  perfectly  knowing  whither  it  was  to  be  led.  The 
North  had  become  accustomed  to  threats  of  dissolution  of  the 


Union,  and  did  not  believe  that  those  then  rife  would  be  bet- 
.ter  fulfilled  than  those  which  had  preceded  them.  No  one  at 
the  North,  unless  it  may  have  been  a  few  sympathetic  politi- 
cians, had  any  faith  in  the  earnestness  of  the  pro-slavery 
schemers.  The  disruption  of  the  government  was  regarded  as 
an  impossibility ;  and  the  Union-loving  Yankee  would  not  be- 
lieve that  there  were  any  who  would  push  their  professed 
enmity  to  any  practical  exhibition. 

Mr.  Lincoln  had  scarcely  returned  to  his  home  before  the 
Democratic  National  Convention  assembled  at  Charleston.  This 
convention  occurred  on  the  twenty-third  of  April,  and  col- 
lected to  itself  all  the  plotters  against  the  Union.  That  they 
met  the  northern  members  of  the  democratic  party  with  any 
expectation  to  unite  with  them  in  a  platform  and  the  selection 
of  a  candidate,  is  not  probable.  Mr.  Douglas,  with  his  popu- 
lar sovereignty,  and  Dred  Scott  decision,  and  "  don't  care  " 
policy,  offered  them  the  only  ground  of  Union.  All  saw  this, 
and  all  were  for  or  against  Douglas.  Douglas  was  the  pivot 
of  the  convention.  Everything  turned  on  him.  The  northern 
men  felt  that  nothing  less  than  Douglas,  who  had  fought  the 
Lecompton  fraud  and  the  administration,  and  had  been  com- 
pelled to  some  concessions  to  freedom  in  order  to  win  his  seat 
in  the  senate,  would  do  for  them,  while  the  South  was  deter- 
mined to  take  no  man  who  was  not  fairly  and  squarely  a  pro- 
slavery  man,  with  a  clean  record,  and  to  subscribe  to  no 
platform  that  did  not  accord  to  them  fully  the  rights  they 
claimed.  The  South  would  have  only  a  "sound  man,"  and 
would  fight  this  time  only  "on  principle."  If  it  could  not 
have  honest  victory,  it  wanted  defeat.  No  "unfriendly  legis- 
lation" should  exclude  slavery  from  the  territories.  They 
must  have  their  property  protected.  Mr.  Yancey  was  present 
as  the  leader  of  the  "fire-eaters,"  and  could  probably  have 
foretold  the  explosion  of  the  convention.  There  is  no  doubt 
that  he  intended  nothing  else  than  this,  and  the  convention 
did  explode,  and  the  old  democratic  party  that  had  proved 
invincible  on  so  many  battle-fields  was  rent  in  twain.  The 
southern  members,  by  a  large  majority,  withdrew  and  formed 


a  "Constitutional  Convention."  The  regular  convention  re- 
mained in  session,  and  after  fifty-seven  unsuccessful  ballotings, 
in  which  Mr.  Douglas  came  near  a  nomination,  they  gave  it 
up,  and  adjourned  to  meet  in  Baltimore  on  the  eighteenth  day 
of  June,  or  two  days  after  the  appointed  date  of  the  Republi- 
can Convention  at  Chicago.  The  Constitutional  Convention 
transacted  no  important  business,  and  made  no  nomination,  but 
adjourned  to  meet  in  Richmond  on  the  second  Monday  in  June, 

The  Charleston  people  were  delighted  with  the  results  of 
the  quarrel.  The  ladies,  only  a  dozen  of  whom  had  been  in 
attendance  upon  the  regular  convention,  turned  out  and  filled 
the  hall  of  the  seceders.  All  the  smiles  of  all  the  beauty  of 
Charleston  were  bestowed  upon  Mr.  Yancey  and  his  followers. 
They  undoubtedly  regarded  this  disruption  of  the  party  as 
insuring  the  pretext  for  disunion  for  which  they  so  ardently 

The  democratic  host,  as  they  retired  in  broken  columns 
from  Charleston,  were  jostled  on  the  road  by  the  members  of 
another  convention,  on  their  way  to  Baltimore — the  "National 
Constitutional  Union  Convention" — made  up  largely  of  old 
whigs  who  still  dreamed  that  the  party  of  their  early  love 
was  in  existence — that  it  was  not  dead,  but  sleeping.  They 
met  on  the  ninth  of  May — delegates  from  ten  free  states  and 
eleven  slave  states.  There  is  this  to  be  said  of  this  body  of 
men — that  they  were  in  the  main  really  anxious  to  save  the 
Union,  and  that  they  had  a  juster  appreciation  of  the  dangers 
of  the  Union  than  the  republicans,  who  were  fond  of  ridicul- 
ing their  fears.  They  passed  a  "conservative"  resolution, 
declaring  that  they  had  no  principles  except  "The  Constitu- 
tion of  the  country,  the  Union  of  the  states,  and  the  enforce- 
ment of  the  laws."  The  convention  nominated  John  Bell 
of  Tennessee  for  president,  and  Edward  Everett  of  Massa- 
chusetts for  vice-president,  the  former  of  whom,  when  seces- 
sion came,  went  over  to  the  disunionists,  and  the  latter  of 
whom  devoted  all  his  great  influence  and  powers  to  the  main- 
tenance of  the  government,  becoming  at  last  a  member  of  the 
republican  party  and  the  recipient  of  its  honors. 


Before  entering  upon  an  account  of  the  Chicago  Conven- 
tion, it  will  be  best  to  state,  in  brief,  the  result  of  the  demo- 
cratic split  at  Charleston.  The  Richmond  Convention  met 
and  adjourned  to  await  the  doings  of  the  Baltimore  Conven- 
tion, the  members  generally  going  to  Baltimore.  There  they 
joined  in  an  independent  convention,  making  all  the  mischief 
possible,  and  nominating  for  president  John  C.  Breckinridge, 
then  vice-president  of  the  United  States,  and  since  a  Major 
General  in  the  rebel  army.  The  regular  convention  nomina- 
ted Mr.  Douglas,  though  he  had  begged  them  to  sacrifice  him 
rather  than  the  party.  The  party,  however,  was  already  sac- 
rificed ;  and  he  had  had  no  small  hand  in  the  slaughter.  The 
antagonism  between  the  southern  and  northern  sections  of 
the  democracy  was  irreconcilable.  It  was  impossible  for  the 
two  to  agree  upon  a  platform  or  a  man  who  would  carry 
either  section  of  the  country.  Mr.  Lincoln  had  his  joke  and 
his  "little  story"  over  the  disruption  of  the  democracy.  He 
once  knew,  he  said,  a  sound  churchman  of  the  name  of  Brown, 
who  was  the  member  of  a  very  sober  and  pious  committee 
having  in  charge  the  erection  of  a  bridge  over  a  dangerous 
and  rapid  river.  Several  architects  failed,  and  at  last  Brown 
said  he  had  a  friend  named  Jones  who  had  built  several 
bridges,  and  could  undoubtedly  build  that  one.  So  Mr.  Jones 
was  called  in.  "Can  you  build  this  bridge?"  inquired  the 
committee.  "Yes,"  replied  Jones,  "or  any  other.  I  could 
build  a  bridge  to  h — 1  if  necessary."  The  committee  were 
shocked,  and  Brown  felt  called  upon  to  defend  his  friend. 
"I  know  Jones  so  well,"  said  he,  "and  he  is  so  honest  a  man, 
and  so  good  an  architect,  that  if  he  states  soberly  and  pos- 
itively that  he  can  build  a  bridge  to — to — the  infernal  regions, 
why,  I  believe  it;  but  I  feel  bound  to  say  that  I  have  my 
doubts  about  the  abutment  on  the  other  side."  "  So,"  said 
Mr.  Lincoln,  "  when  politicians  told  me  that  the  northern  and 
southern  wings  of  the  democracy  could  be  harmonized,  why, 
I  believed  them,  of  course,  but  I  always  had  my  doubts 
about  the  abutment  on  the  other  side." 

Though  the  result  of  the  Baltimore  Convention  was  tin- 


known  at  Chicago,  it  was  foreseen,  and  it  was  believed  that 
victory  would  come  to  the  republican  party  with  any  respect- 
able nominee.  When  the  friends  of  Douglas  left  Baltimore, 
they  left  it  with  none  but  bitter  feelings  for  those  who  had 
destroyed  their  party,  and  brought  certain  defeat  to  the  man 
to  whom  they  were  strongly  devoted.  They  felt  that  Mr. 
Douglas  had  deserved  better  treatment  at  the  hands  of  the 
South  than  he  had  received,  and  saw,  in  the  disruption  of 
their  party,  the  defeat  of  all  their  hopes. 

The  Eepublican  Convention  at  Chicago  assembled  on  the 
sixteenth  of  June.  There  was  an  immense  crowd  in  attend- 
ance, casting  into  the  shade  entirely  the  assemblages  at 
Charleston  and  Baltimore.  Every  hotel  was  crammed  from 
basement  to  attic,  even  in  that  city  of  multitudinous  and  ca- 
pacious hotels.  It  was  calculated  that  fifteen  hundred  persons 
slept  in  the  Tremont  House  alone.  A  huge  building  was 
erected  for  the  sessions  of  the  convention,  which  was  called 
"The  Wigwam;"  and  even  this  could  not  contain  more  than 
a  fraction  of  the  twenty-five  thousand  strangers  who  had 
assembled  in  the  city,  as  delegates  and  interested  observers. 

Edward  Bates,  Judge  McLean,  Benjamin  F.  Wade,  N.  P. 
Banks,  Abraham  Lincoln,  Simon  Cameron,  and  William  H. 
Seward,  all  had  their  partisans  among  outsiders  and  insiders ; 
but  it  became  evident  very  early  that  the  contest  was  really 
between  Mr.  Seward  and  Mr.  Lincoln.  The  chiefs  of  the 
party  were  all  present,  excepting,  perhaps,  those  who  imagined 
that  they  might  possibly  be  made  the  recipients  of  the  conven- 
tion's favors. 

Hon.  George  Ashmun  of  Massachusetts  was  elected  to 
preside  over  the  deliberations  of  the  occasion.  Canvassing, 
talking,  prophesying,  betting,  declaiming,  were  actively  in 
progress  everywhere.  On  the  morning  of  the  seventeenth, 
Mr.  Seward's  friends  made  a  demonstration  in  his  favor, 
in  the  form  of  a  procession,  following  a  band  of  music  and 
wearing  badges.  As  they  passed  the  Tremont  House,  they 
were  greeted  with  tremendous  cheers,  the  band  playing  "  O, 
isn't  he  a  darling?"  Antagonisms  were  developed  in  every 


quarter.  Pennsylvania,  New  Jersey  and  Indiana  declared 
that  if  Mr.  Seward  should  be  nominated  they  could  do  noth- 
ing ;  Douglas  would  beat  them  ten  to  one.  Illinois,  devoted 
to  Mr.  Lincoln,  joined  in  the  cry,  but  the  New  Yorkers 
scouted  the  idea  that  Mr.  Seward  could  not  sweep  with  vic- 
tory every  northern  state.  The  Lincoln  men  were  quite  as  busy 
as  the  friends  of  Mr.  Seward,  and  less  noisy.  Mr.  Greeley  tel- 
egraphed to  the  New  York  Tribune,  on  the  evening  of  the 
seventeenth :  "  My  conclusion,  from  all  that  I  can  gather,  is, 
that  the  opposition  to  Governor  Seward  cannot  concentrate  on 
any  candidate,  and  that  he  will  be  nominated;"  and  this,  it 
must  be  remembered,  was  not  in  accordance  with  Mr.  Greeley's 

The  platform  upon  which  the  party  proposed  to  conduct 
the  campaign  was  adopted  on  the  second  day.  The  action 
upon  this  showed  that  the  party  had  not  quite  come  to  the 
standard  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  moderate  as  he  had  been.  Hon. 
Joshua  R.  Giddings,  one  of  the  old  enemies  of  slavery  and 
the  slave  power,  wished  to  introduce  into  the  platform  that 
part  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence  which  asserts,  as 
self-evident  truths,  "that  all  men  are  endowed  by  their  Cre- 
ator with  certain  inalienable  rights,  among  which  are  those  of 
life,  liberty  and  the  pursuit  of  happiness,"  and  that  govern- 
ments are  instituted  among  men  to  secure  the  enjoyment  of 
these  rights ;  but  objections  were  made.  The  old  man  walked 
grieved  and  disgusted  out  of  the  wigwam,  amid  the  protesta- 
tions of  the  crowd.  Mr.  George  "W.  Curtis,  a  New  York 
delegate,  made  an  appeal  to  the  convention  that  was  irresisti- 
ble, and  the  declaration  went  in,  and  all  felt  the  stronger  and 
better  for  it.  The  utterances  of  Mr.  Lincoln  have  already 
given  us  the  substance  of  this  platform.  It  contravened  no 
right  of  slavery  in  the  states,  under  the  Constitution,  de- 
nounced the  subserviency  of  Mr.  Buchanan's  administration 
to  a  sectional  interest  and  the  dogma  that  the  Constitution 
carried  slavery  into  the  territories  and  protected  it  there,  de- 
clared that  the  normal  condition  of  all  the  territory  of  the 
United  States  is  that  of  freedom,  and  that  a  sound  policy 


requires  a  protective  tariff,  &c.,  &c.  It  was  the  platform  of 
the  old  whig  party,  repeated  in  most  particulars,  except  that, 
in  the  matter  of  slavery,  it  introduced,  not  widely  modified, 
the  old  platform  of  the  "free  soilers."  The  platform  was 
adopted  amid  demonstrations  of  the  wildest  enthusiasm.  An 
eye  witness  of  the  scene*  says:  "all  the  thousands  of  men  in 
that  enormous  wigwam  commenced  swinging  their  hats,  and 
cheering  with  intense  enthusiasm ;  and  the  other  thousands  of 
ladies  waved  their  handkerchiefs  and  clapped  their  hands. 
The  roar  that  went  up  from  that  mass  of  ten  thousand  human 
beings  is  indescribable.  Such  a  spectacle  as  was  presented 
for  some  minutes  has  never  before  been  witnessed  at  a  conven- 
tion. A  herd  of  buffaloes  or  lions  could  not  have  made  a 
more  tremendous  roaring." 

The  Seward  men  still  carried  a  confident  air  on  the  third 
day.  They  had  reason  to  do  so.  Their  candidate  was  in 
many  respects  the  greatest  man  in  the  party.  He  was  a 
statesman  of  acknowledged  eminence,  and  had  been  for  many 
years  the  leading  representative  of  the  principles  upon  which 
the  republican  party  stood.  They  were  strong,  too,  in  the 
convention ;  and  they  were  sure  to  secure  upon  the  first  ballot 
more  votes  for  their  candidate  than  could  be  summoned  to  the 
support  of  any  other  man. 

On  the  assembling  of  the  convention,  everybody  was  anx- 
ious to  get  at  the  decisive  work,  and,  as  a  preliminary,  the 
various  candidates  in  the  field  were  formally  nominated  by 
their  friends.  Mr.  Evarts  of  New  York  nominated  Mr.  Sew- 
ard, and  Mr.  Judd  of  Illinois  named  Abraham  Lincoln. 
Afterwards,  Mr.  Dayton  of  New  Jersey,  Mr.  Cameron  of 
Pennsylvania,  Mr.  Chase  of  Ohio,  Edward  Bates  of  Missouri, 
and  John  McLean  of  Ohio,  were  formally  nominated ;  but  no 
enthusiasm  was  awakened  by  the  mention  of  any  names  except 
those  of  Mr.  Seward  and  Mr.  Lincoln.  Caleb  B.  Smith  of 
Indiana  seconded  the  nomination  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  as  did  also 
Mr.  Delano  of  Ohio,  while  Carl  Schurz  of  Wisconsin  and 

*M.  Halstead,  author  of  "Caucuses  of  1860."  Columbus:  Follett, 
Foster  &  Co. 


Mr.  Blair  of  Michigan  seconded  the  nomination  of  Mr.  Sew- 

ard.  It  was  certain  that  one  of  these  two  men  would  be  nom- 
inated. On  ev,ery  pronunciation  of  their  names,  their  respect- 
ive partisans  raised  their  shouts,  vicing  with  each  other  in  the 
strength  of  their  applause.  The  excitement  of  this  mass  of 
men  at  that  time  cannot  be  measured  by  those  not  there,  or  by 
men  in  their  sober  senses. 

The  ballot  came.  Maine  gave  nearly  half  her  vote  for 
Lincoln ;  New  Hampshire,  seven  of  her  ten  for  Lincoln.  Mas- 
sachusetts was  divided.  New  York  voted  solid  for  Mr.  Sew- 
ard,  giving  him  her  seventy  votes.  Virginia,  which  was  ex- 
pected also  to  vote  solid  for  Mr.  Seward,  gave  fourteen  of 
her  twenty-two  votes  for  Lincoln.  Indiana  gave  her  twenty- 
six  votes  for  Lincoln  without  a  break.  Thus  the  balloting 
went  on,  amid  the  most  intense  excitement,  until  the  whole 
number  of  four  hundred  and  sixty-five  votes  was  cast.  It  was 
necessary  to  a  choice  that  one  candidate  should  have  two  hund- 
red and  thirty-three.  William  H.  Seward  had  one  hundred 
and  seventy-three  and  a  half,  Abraham  Lincoln  one  hund- 
red and  two,  Edward  Bates  forty-eight,  Simon  Cameron  fifty 
and  a  half,  Salmon  P.  Chase  forty-nine.  The  remaining  forty- 
two  votes  were  divided  among  John  McLean,  Benjamin  F. 
"Wade,  William  L.  Dayton,  John  M.  Eeed,  Jacob  Collamer, 
Charles  Sumner  and  John  C.  Fremont, — Reed,  Sumner  and 
Fremont  having  one  each. 

On  the  second  ballot,  the  first  gain  for  Lincoln  was  from 
New  Hampshire.  Then  Vermont  followed  with  her  vote, 
which  she  had  previously  given  to  her  senator,  Mr.  Collamer, 
as  a  compliment.  Pennsylvania  came  next  to  his  support, 
with  the  votes  she  had  given  to  Cameron.  On  the  whole 
ballot,  he  gained  seventy-nine  votes,  and  received  one  hund- 
red and  eighty-one ;  while  Mr.  Seward  received  one  hundred 
and  eighty-four  and  a  half  votes,  having  gained  eleven.  The 
announcement  of  the  votes  given  to  Mr.  Seward  and  Mr. 
Lincoln  was  received  by  deafening  applause  by  their  respect- 
ive partisans.  Then  came  the  third  ballot.  All  felt  that  it 
was  likely  to  be  the  decisive  one,  and  the  friends  of  Mr.  Seward 


trembled  for  the  result.  Hundreds  of  pencils  were  in  opera- 
tion, and  before  the  result  was  announced  it  was  whispered 
through  the  immense  and  excited  mass  of  people  that  Abra- 
ham Lincoln  had  received  two  hundred  and  thirty-one  and  a 
half  votes,  only  lacking  one  vote  and  a  half  of  an  election. 
Mr.  Cartter  of  Ohio  was  up  in  an  instant,  to  announce  the 
change  of  four  votes  of  Ohio  from  Mr.  Chase  to  Mr.  Lincoln. 


That  finished  the  work.  The  excitement  had  culminated. 
After  a  moment's  pause,  like  the  sudden  and  breathless  still- 
ness that  precedes  the  hurricane,  the  storm  of  wild,  uncon- 
trollable and  almost  insane  enthusiasm  descended.  The  scene 
surpassed  description.  During  all  the  ballotings,  a  man  had 
been  standing  upon  the  roof,  communicating  the  results  to  the 
outsiders,  who,  in  surging  masses,  far  outnumbered  those  who 
were  packed  into  the  wigwam.  To  this  man  one  of  the  sec- 
retaries shouted :  "  Fire  the  salute  !  Abe  Lincoln  is  nomina- 
ted !  "  Then,  as  the  cheering  inside  died  away,  the  roar  began 
on  the  outside,  and  swelled  up  from  the  excited  masses  like 
the  noise  of  many  waters.  This  the  insiders  heard,  and  to  it 
they  replied.  Thus  deep  called  to  deep  with  such  a  frenzy 
of  sympathetic  enthusiasm  that  even  the  thundering  salute 
of  cannon  was  unheard  by  many  upon  the  platform. 

When  the  multitudes  became  too  tired  to  cheer  more,  the 
business  of  the  convention  proceeded.  Half  a  dozen  men 
were  on  their  feet  announcing  the  change  of  votes  of  their 
states,  swelling  Mr.  Lincoln's  majority.  Missouri,  Iowa, 
Kentucky,  Minnesota,  Virginia,  California,  Texas,  District  of 
Columbia,  Kansas,  Nebraska  and  Oregon  insisted  on  casting 
unanimous  votes  for  Mr.  Lincoln,  before  the  vote  was  declared. 
While  these  changes  were  going  on,  a  photograph  of  the  nomi- 
nee was  brought  in  and  exhibited  to  the  convention.  When 
the  vote  was  declared,  Mr.  Evarts,  on  behalf  of  the  New 
York  delegation,  expressed  his  grief  that  Mr.  Seward  had 
not  been  nominated,  and  then  moved  that  the  nomination  of 
Mr.  Lincoln  should  be  made  unanimous.  John  A.  Andrew 
of  Massachusetts  and  Carl  Schurz  of  Wisconsin  seconded  the 
motion,  and  it  was  carried.  Before  the  nomination  of  a  vice- 


president,  the  convention  adjourned  for  dinner.  It  is  re- 
ported that  such  had  been  the  excitement  during  the  morning 
session  that  men  who  never  tasted  intoxicating  liquors  stag- 
gered like  drunken  men,  on  coming  into  the  open  air.  The 
nervous  tension  had  been  so  great  that,  when  it  subsided,  they 
were  as  flaccid  and  feeble  as  if  they  had  but  recently  risen 
from  a  fever. 

The  excitement  in  the  city  only  began  as  it  subsided  in  the 
convention.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  the  favorite  of  Chicago  and  of 


Illinois — he  was  the  people's  idol.  Men  shouted  and  sang, 
and  did  all  sorts  of  foolish  things  in  the  incontinence  of  their 
joy.  After  dinner  the  convention  met  again,  and  for  the  last 
time.  The  simple  business  was  the  completion  of  the  ticket 
by  the  nomination  of  a  candidate  for  vice-president ;  and  the 
result  was  the  selection  of  Hannibal  Hamlin  of  Maine. 

The  defeat  of  Mr.  Seward  was  a  sad  blow  to  his  friends. 
They  had  presented  to  the  convention  one  of  the  prominent 
statesmen  of  the  nation ;  and  he  had  undoubtedly  been  slaugh- 
tered to  satisfy  the  clamor  for  "availability."  The  country 
at  large  did  not  know  Mr.  Lincoln  in  any  capacity  except 
that  of  a  political  debater ;  and  many  sections  had  no  familiar- 
ity with  his  reputation,  even  in  this  character.  Mr.  Seward, 
on  the  contrary,  had  been  in  public  life  for  thirty  years ;  and 
his  name  and  fame  were  as  common  and  as  well  established 
in  the  regard  of  the  nation,  as  the  name  and  fame  of  Henry 
Clay  and  Daniel  Webster  had  been.  He  was  a  man  of  great 
accomplishments,  of  wide  experience,  of  large  influence  and 
surpassing  ability — recognized  as  such  abroad  as  well  as  at 
home.  Their  disappointment  is  not  to  be  wondered  at,  or 
blamed.  Mr.  Lincoln  had  not  been  proved.  His  capacity 
for  public  affairs  had  yet  to  be  demonstrated;  and  he  had 
been  nominated  over  the  head  of  Mr.  Seward  partly  for  this 
reason — the  reason  that  he  was  a  new  man,  and  had  no  public 
record.  If  events  have  proved  that  the  choice  between  these 
two  men  was  a  fortunate  one,  they  can  hardly  have  proved  that 
it  was  a  wise  one — that  it  was  the  result  of  an  intelligent  and 
honest  choice  between  the  two  men.  It  is  pleasant  to  renicm- 


ber  that  Mr.  Lincoln,  when  elected  to  the  presidency,  called 
to  the  first  place  in  his  cabinet  the  man  whom  the  convention 
had  set  aside,  and  that  the  country  had  the  advantage  of  his 
wise  counsels  throughout  the  darkest  period  and  most  difficult 
passage  of  its  history. 

As  has  been  stated,  the  city  of  Chicago  was  wild  with  de- 
light. One  hundred  guns  were  fired  from  the  top  of  the 
Tremont  House.  Decorated  and  illuminated  rails  were  around 
the  newspaper  offices.  All  the  bars  and  drinking  halls  were 
crowded  with  men  wrho  were  either  worn  out  with  excitement 
or  mad  with  delight.  From  Chicago  the  news  spread  over 
the  country,  and  the  cannon's  throat  responded  to  the  click 
of  the  telegraph  from  Maine  to  the  Mississippi.  The  out- 
going trains  that  night  found  bonfires  blazing  at  every  village, 
and  excited  crowds  assembled  to  cheer  the  retiring  delegates, 
most  of  whom  were  either  too  weak  or  too  hoarse  to  respond. 

In  the  little  city  of  Springfield,  in  the  heart  of  Illinois,  two 
hundred  miles  from  where  those  exciting  events  were  in  prog- 
ress, sat  Abraham  Lincoln,  in  close  and  constant  telegraphic 
communication  with  his  friends  in  Chicago.  He  was  apprised 
of  the  results  of  every  ballot,  and,  with  his  home  friends,  sat  in 
the  Journal  office  receiving  and  commenting  upon  the  dis- 
patches. It  was  one  of  the  decisive  moments  of  his  life — a 
moment  on  which  hung  his  fate  as  a  public  man — his  place  in 
history.  He  fully  appreciated  the  momentous  results  of  the 
convention  to  himself  and  the  nation,  and  foresaw  the  nature 
of  the  great  struggle  which  his  nomination  and  election  would 
inaugurate.  A  moment,  and  he  knew  that  he  would  either 
become  the  central  man  of  a  nation,  or  a  cast-off  politician 
whose  ambition  for  the  nation's  highest  honors  would  be  for- 
ever blasted.  At  last,  in  the  midst  of  intense  and  painful 
excitement,  a  messenger  from  the  telegraph  office  entered  with 
the  decisive  dispatch  in  his  hand.  Without  handing  it  to  any 
one,  he  took  his  way  solemnly  to  the  side  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  and 
said:  "the  convention  has  made  a  nomination,  and  Mr.  Sew- 

ard  is the  second  man  on  the  list."  Then  he  jumped  upon 

the  editorial  table  and  shouted,  "gentlemen,  I  propose  three 


cheers  for  Abraham  Lincoln,  the  next  President  of  the  United 
States;"  and  the  call  was  boisterously  responded  to.  lie  then 
handed  the  dispatch  to  Mr.  Lincoln  who  read  in  silence,  and 
then  aloud,  its  contents.  After  the  excitement  had  in  a  meas- 
ure passed  away  from  the  little  assembly,  Mr.  Lincoln  rose, 
and  remarking  that  there  was  "a  little  woman"  on  Eighth 
street  who  had  some  interest  in  the  matter,  pocketed  the  tele- 
gram and  walked  home. 


As  soon  as  the  news  reached  Springfield,  the  citizens  who 
had  a  personal  affection  for  Mr.  Lincoln  which  amounted 
almost  to  idolatry,  responded  with  a  hundred  guns,  and  during 
the  afternoon  thronged  his  house  to  tender  their  conoratula- 

o  C> 

tions  and  express  their  joy.  In  the  evening,  the  State  House 
was  thrown  open,  and  a  most  enthusiastic  meeting  held  by  the 
republicans.  At  its  close,  they  marched  in  a  body  to  the 
Lincoln  mansion,  and  called  for  the  nominee.  Mr.  Lincoln 
appeared,  and  after  a  brief,  modest  and  hearty  speech,  invited 
as  many  as  could  get  into  the  house  to  enter,  the  crowd  re- 
sponding that  after  the  fourth  of  March  they  would  give  him 
a  larger  house.  The  people  did  not  retire  until  a  late  hour, 
and  then  moved  off  reluctantly,  leaving  the  excited  household 
to  their  rest. 

On  the  following  day,  which  was  Saturday,  Mr.  Ashmun, 
the  president  of  the  convention,  at  the  head  of  a  committee, 
visited  Springfield  to  apprise  Mr.  Lincoln  officially  of  his 
nomination.  In  order  that  the  ceremony  might  be  smoothly 
performed,  the  committee  had  an  interview  with  Mr.  Lincoln 
before  the  hour  appointed  for  the  formal  call.  They  found  him 
at  a  loss  to  know  how  to  treat  a  present  he  had  just  received 
at  the  hands  of  some  of  his  considerate  Springfield  friends. 
Knowing  Mr.  Lincoln's  temperate  or  rather  abstinent  habits, 
and  laboring  under  the  impression  that  the  visitors  from  Chi- 
cago would  have  wants  beyond  the  power  of  cold  water  to 
satisfy,  these  friends  had  sent  in  sundry  hampers  of  wines  and 
liquors.  These  strange  fluids  troubled  Mr.  Lincoln;  and  he 
frankly  confessed  as  much  to  the  members  of  the  committee. 
The  chairman  at  once  advised  him  to  return  the  gift,  and  to 


offer  no  stimulants  to  his  guests,  as  many  would  be  present 
besides  the  committee.  Thus  relieved,  he  made  ready  for  the 
reception  of  the  company,  according  to  his  own  ideas  of  hos- 
pitality. The  evening  came,  and  with  it  Mr.  Ashmun  and  the 
committee  and  many  others.  Mr.  Ashmun  on  being  presented 

"  I  have,  sir,  the  honor,  on  behalf  of  the  gentlemen  who  are  present — 
a  committee  appointed  by  the  republican  convention  recently  assembled 
at  Chicago — to  discharge  a  most  pleasant  duty.  We  have  come,  sir, 
under  a  vote  of  instructions  to  that  committee,  to  notify  you  that  you 
have  been  selected  by  the  convention  of  the  republicans  at  Chicago 
for  President  of  the  United  States.  They  instruct  us,  sir,  to  notify  you 
of  that  selection ;  and  that  committee  deem  it  not  only  respectful  to 
yourself,  but  appropriate  to  the  important  matter  which  they  have  in 
hand,  that  they  should  come  in  person,  and  present  to  you  the  authentic 
evidence  of  the  action  of  that  convention ;  and,  sir,  without  any  phrase 
which  shall  either  be  personally  plauditory  to  yourself,  or  which  shall 
have  any  reference  to  the  principles  involved  in  the  questions  which  are 
connected  with  your  nomination,  I  desire  to  present  to  you  the  letter 
which  has  been  prepared,  and  which  informs  you  of  your  nomination, 
and  with  it  the  platform,  resolutions  and  sentiments  which  the  conven- 
tion adopted.  Sir,  at  your  convenience,  we  shall  be  glad  to  receive  from 
you  such  a  response  as  it  may  be  your  pleasure  to  give  us." 

Mr.  Lincoln  listened  to  the  address  with  sad  gravity.  There 
was  in  his  heart  no  exultation — no  elation — only  the  pressure  of 
a  new  and  great  responsibility.  He  paused  thoughtfully  for 
a  moment,  and  then  replied : 

"Mr.  Chairman,  and  Gentlemen  of  the  Committee:  I  tender  to  you, 
and  through  you  to  the  republican  national  convention,  and  all  the 
people  represented  in  it,  my  profoundest  thanks  for  the  high  honor  done 
me,  which  you  now  formally  announce.  Deeply  and  even  painfully 
sensible  of  the  great  responsibility  which  is  inseparable  from  this  high 
honor — a  responsibility  which  I  could  almost  wish  had  fallen  upon  some 
one  of  the  far  more  eminent  and  experienced  statesmen  whose  distin- 
guished names  were  before  the  convention — I  shall,  by  your  leave,  con- 
sider more  fully  the  resolutions  of  the  convention  denominated  the 
platform,  and,  without  any  unnecessary  or  unreasonable  delay,  respond 
to  you,  Mr.  Chairman,  in  writing,  not  doubting  that  the  platform  will 
be  found  satisfactory,  and  the  nomination  gratefully  accepted.  And 
now  I  will  no  longer  defer  the  pleasure  of  taking  you,  and  each  of  you, 
by  the  hand." 


Judge  Kelly  of  Pennsylvania,  one  of  the  committee,  and 
a  very  tall  man,  looked  at  Mr.  Lincoln,  up  and  down,  before 
it  came  his  turn  to  take  his  hand,  a  scrutiny  that  had  not 
escaped  Mr.  Lincoln's  quick  eye.  So,  when  he  took  the  hand 
of  the  Judge,  he  inquired:  "what  is  your  hight?"  "six  feet 
three,"  replied  the  Judge.  ""What  is  yours,  Mr.  Lincoln?" 
"Six  feet  four,"  responded  Mr.  Lincoln.  "Then,  sir,"  said 
the  Judge,  "Pennsylvania  bows  to  Illinois.  My  dear  man," 
he  continued,  "  for  years  my  heart  has  been  aching  for  a  presi- 
dent that  I  could  look  up  to  ;  and  I  've  found  him  at  last,  in 
the  land  where  we  thought  there  were  none  but  little  giants." 

»  O  O 

The  evening  passed  quickly  away,  and  the  committee  re- 
tired with  a  very  pleasant  impression  of  the  man  in  whose 
hands  they  had  placed  the  standard  of  the  party  for  a  great 
and  decisive  campaign.  Mr.  Ashmun  met  the  nominee  as  an 
old  friend,  with  whom  he  had  acted  in  Congress,  when  both 
were  members  of  the  old  whig  party;  and  the  interview  be- 
tween them  was  one  of  peculiar  interest.  It  is  a  strange 
coincidence  that  the  man  who  received  Mr.  Lincoln's  first 
spoken  and  written  utterance  as  the  standard  bearer  of  the 
republican  party,  received  the  last  word  he  ever  wrote  as 
President  of  the  United  States. 

On  the  twenty-third  of  June,  which  occurred  on  the  fol- 
lowing week,  Mr.  Lincoln  responded  to  the  letter  which  Mr. 
Ashmun  presented  him  as  follows: 

"Sir:  I  accept  the  nomination  tendered  me  by  the  convention  over 
which  you  presided,  of  which  I  am  formally  apprised  in  a  letter  of  your- 
self and  others,  acting  as  a  committee  of  the  convention  for  that  purpose. 
The  declaration  of  principles  and  sentiments  which  accompanies  your 
letter  meets  my  approval,  and  it  shall  be  my  care  not  to  violate  it,  or 
disregard  it  in  any  part.  Imploring  the  assistance  of  Divine  Providence, 
and  with  due  regard  to  the  views  and  feelings  of  all  who  were  repre- 
sented in  the  convention,  to  the  rights  of  all  the  states  and  territories 
and  people  of  the  nation,  to  the  inviolability  of  the  Constitution  and 
the  perpetual  union,  harmony  and  prosperity  of  all,  I  am  most  happy  to 
co-operate  for  the  practical  success  of  the  principles  declared  by  the 
convention.  Your  obliged  friend  and  fellow-citizen, 




Thus  was  Abraham  Lincoln  placed  before  the  nation  as  a 
candidate  for  the  highest  honor  in  its  power  to  bestow.  It 
had  been  a  long  and  tedious  passage  to  this  point  in  his  history. 
He  was  in  the  fifty-second  year  of  his  age.  He  had  spent 
half  of  his  years  in  what  was  literally  a  wilderness.  Born  in 
the  humblest  and  remotest  obscurity,  subjected  to  the  rudest 
toil  in  the  meanest  offices,  gathering  his  acquisitions  from  the 
scantiest  sources,  achieving  the  development  of  his  powers  by 
means  of  his  own  institution,  he  had,  with  none  of  the  tricks 
of  the  demagogue,  with  none  of  the  aids  of  wealth  and  social 
influence,  with  none  of  the  opportunities  for  exhibiting  his 
powers  which  high  official  position  bestows,  against  all  the 
combinations  of  genius  and  eminence  and  interest,  raised  him- 
self by  force  of  manly  excellence  of  heart  and  brain  into  na- 
tional recognition,  and  had  become  the  focal  center  of  the 
affectionate  interest  and  curious  inquisition  of  thirty  millions 
of  people  at  home,  and  of  multitudes  throughout  the  civilized 


AND  now  began  a  new  life,  so  unlike  anything  that  Mr. 
Lincoln  had  hitherto  experienced  that  he  found  himself  alto- 
gether afloat  as  to  the  proprieties  of  his  position.  His  nomi- 
nation had  not  elevated  or  elated  him ;  and  he  did  not  see  why 
it  should  change  his  manners  or  his  bearing  toward  anybody. 
He  had  been  diminished  in  his  own  estimation — in  some  re- 
spects humbled  and  oppressed — by  the  great  responsibilities 
placed  upon  him,  rather  than  made  important  and  great.  He 
was  the  people's  instrument,  the  people's  servant,  the  people's 
creation.  He  could  put  on  none  of  the  airs  of  eminence ;  he 
could  place  no  bars  between  himself  and  those  who  had  hon- 
ored him.  None  of  his  old  heartiness  and  simplicity  left  him. 
Men  who  entered  his  house  impressed  with  a  sense  of  his  new 
dignities,  found  him  the  same  honest,  affectionate,  true-hearted 
and  simple-minded  Abraham  Lincoln  that  he  had  always  been. 
He  answered  his  own  bell,  accompanied  his  visitors  to  the  door 
when  they  retired,  and  felt  all  that  interfered  with  his  old 
homely  and  hearty  habits  of  hospitality  as  a  burden — almost 
an  impertinence. 

From  this  moment  to  the  moment  of  his  death  he  knew 
nothing  of  leisure.  He  was  astonished  to  find  how  many 
friends  he  had.  They  thronged  his  house  from  every  quarter 
of  the  country.  Probably  no  candidate  for  presidential  hon- 
ors was  ever  so  beset  by  place-seekers  and  lion-hunters  as  was 
Mr.  Lincoln  ;  for  it  is  rare  indeed  that  any  man  is  nominated 
for  the  presidency  with  the  same  moral  certainty  of  an  elec- 


tion  which  attached  to  his  prospects/"  It  was  almost  univer- 
sally believed,  both  at  the  North  and  the  South,  that  he  would 
be  elected;  and  he  was  treated  like  a  man  who  already  had 
the  reins  of  power  in  his  hands. 

Some  of  his  friends  who  had  witnessed  his  laborious  way 
of  receiving  and  dismissing  his  guests  and  visitors  interposed 
with  "Thomas,"  a  colored  servant  who  became  very  useful  to 
him ;  but  it  was  very  hard  and  very  unnatural  for  him  to  yield 
to  another,  and  he  a  servant,  the  ministry  of  the  courtesies 
which  it  was  so  much  his  delight  to  render ;  and  he  not  un- 
frequently  broke  over  the  rules  which  his  considerate  advisers 
undertook  to  impose  upon  him.  One  thing  was  remarkable 
in  these  receptions — his  attention  to  the  humble  and  the  poor. 
No  poor,  humble,  scared  man  ever  came  into  his  house  toward 
whom  his  heart  did  not  at  once  go  out  with  a  gush  of  noble 
sympathy.  To  these  he  was  always  particularly  attentive, 
and  they  were  placed  at  ease  at  once.  He  took  pains  to  show 
them  that  no  change  of  circumstances  could  make  him  forget 
his  early  condition,  or  alienate  his  heart  from  those  with  whom 
he  had  shared  the  hardships  and  humilities  of  obscurity  and 

The  interruption  of  family  privacy  and  comfort  by  the  con- 
stant throng  of  visitors  at  last  became  intolerable,  and  it  was 
determined  that  Mr.  Lincoln  should  hold  his  receptions  else- 
where. Accordingly  the  Executive  Chamber,  a  large  fine  room 
in  the  State  House,  was  set  apart  for  him ;  and  in  this  room  he 
met  the  public  until,  after  his  election,  he  departed  for  Wash- 
ington. Here  he  met  the  millionaire  and  the  menial,  the 
priest  and  the  politician,  men,  women  and  children,  old  friends 
and  new  friends,  those  who  called  for  love  and  those  who 
sought  for  office.  From  morning  until  night  this  was  his  bus- 
iness; and  he  performed  it  with  conscientious  care  and  the 
most  unwearying  patience. 

As  illustrative  of  the  nature  of  many  of  his  calls,  a  brace 
of  incidents  may  be  recorded  as  they  were  related  to  the  writer 
by  an  eye-witness.  Mr.  Lincoln  being  seated  in  conversation 
with  a  gentleman  one  day,  two  raw,  plainly  dressed  young 


"  Suckers  "  entered  the  room,  and  bashfully  lingered  near  the 
door.  As  soon  as  he  observed  them,  and  apprehended  their 
embarrassment,  he  rose  and  walked  to  them,  saying,  "How 
do  you  do,  my  good  fellows  ?  What  can  I  do  for  you  ?  Will 
you  sit  down?"  The  spokesman  of  the  pair,  the  shorter  of 
the  two,  declined  to  sit,  and  explained  the  object  of  the  call 
thus :  he  had  had  a  talk  about  the  relative  hight  of  Mr.  Lin- 
coln and  his  companion,  and  had  asserted  his  belief  that  they 
were  of  exactly  the  same  hight.  He  had  come  in  to  verify 
his  judgment.  Mr.  Lincoln  smiled,  went  and  got  his  cane, 
and,  placing  the  end  of  it  upon  the  wall,  said,  "here,  young 
man,  come  under  here."  The  young  man  came  under  the 
cane,  as  Mr.  Lincoln  held  it,  and  when  it  was  perfectly  ad- 
justed to  his  hight,  Mr.  Lincoln  said:  "now  come  out  and 
hold  up  the  cane."  This  he  did  while  Mr.  Lincoln  stepped 
under.  Rubbing  his  liead  back  and  forth  to  see  that  it  worked 
easily  under  the  measurement,  he  stepped  out,  and  declared 
to  the  sagacious  fellow  who  was  curiously  looking  on,  that  he 
had  guessed  with  remarkable  accuracy — that  he  and  the  young 
man  were  exactly  of  the  same  hight.  Then  he  shook  hands 
with  them  and  sent  them  on  their  way.  Mr.  Lincoln  would 
just  as  soon  have  thought  of  cutting  off  his  right  hand  as  he 
would  have  thought  of  turning  those  boys  away  with  the  im- 
pression that  they  had  in  any  way  insulted  his  dignity. 

They  had  hardly  disappeared  when  an  old  and  modestly 
dressed  woman  made  her  appearance.  She  knew  Mr.  Lincoln, 
but  Mr.  Lincoln  did  not  at  first  recognize  her.  Then  she  un- 
dertook to  recall  to  his  memory  certain  incidents  connected 
with  his  rides  upon  the  circuit — especially  his  dining  at  her 
house  upon  the  road  at  different  times.  Then  he  remembered 
her  and  her  home.  Having  fixed  her  own  place  in  his  recol- 
lection, she  tried  to  recall  to  him  a  certain  scanty  dinner  of 
bread  and  milk  that  he  once  ate  at  her  house.  He  could  not 
remember  it — on  the  contrary,  he  only  remembered  that  he 
had  always  fared  well  at  her  house.  "Well,"  said  she,  "one 
day  you  came  along  after  we  had  got  through  dinner,  and  we 
had  eaten  up  everything,  and  I  could  give  you  nothing  but  a 


bowl  of  bread  and  milk ;  and  you  ate  it ;  and  when  you  got 
up  you  said  it  was  good  enough  for  the  President  of  the  United 
States."  The  good  old  woman,  remembering  the  remark, 
had  come  in  from  the  country,  making  a  journey  of  eight  or 
ten  miles,  to  relate  to  Mr.  Lincoln  this  incident,  which,  in  her 
mind,  had  doubtless  taken  the  form  of  prophesy.  Mr.  Lincoln 
placed  the  honest  creature  at  her  ease,  chatted  with  her  of 
old  times,  and  dismissed  her  in  the  most  happy  and  compla- 
cent frame  of  mind. 

The  interviews  of  this  character  were  almost  numberless, 
constantly  intermingled  with  grave  conversations  with  states- 
men and  politicians  concerning  the  campaign  in  progress,  and 
the  condition  and  prospects  of  the  country.  The  future  was 
very  dark.  Threats  of  secession  grew  louder  and  deeper. 
Steps  towards  treason  were  bolder  with  every  passing  day. 
He  knew  the  spirit  of  slavery.  He  had  measured  it  in  all  the 
length  and  breadth  of  its  malignity  and  treachery.  He  felt 
that  he  was  entering  upon  a  path  full  of  danger,  overshadowed 
all  the  way  with  doubt  and  fear.  With  this  great  care  upon 
him — with  the  burden  of  a  nation  already  taken  upon  his 
shoulders — he  was  often  bowed  down  with  the  deepest  des- 
pondency. He  believed  in  his  inmost  soul  that  he  was  an  in- 
strument in  the  hands  of  God  for  the  accomplishment  of  a 
great  purpose.  The  pOAver  was  above  him,  the  workers  were 
around  him,  the  end  was  beyond  him.  In  him,  Providence, 
the  people  and  the  purpose  of  both  met ;  and  as  a  poor,  weak, 
imperfect  man,  he  felt  humbled  by  the  august  presence,  and 
crushed  by  the  importance  with  which  he  had  been  endowed. 

Of  one  thing  Mr.  Lincoln  felt  sure:  that  in  the  great 
struggle  before  him  he  ought  to  be  supported  by  the  Christian 
sentiment  and  the  Christian  influence  of  the  nation.  Nothing 
pained  him  more  than  the  thought  that  a  man  professing  the 
religion  of  Jesus  Christ,  and  especially  a  man  who  taught  the 
religion  of  Jesus  Christ,  should  be  opposed  to  him.  He  felt 
that  every  religious  man — every  man  who  Relieved  in  God, 
in  the  principles  of  everlasting  justice,  in  truth  and  righteous- 
ness— should  be  opposed  to  slavery,  and.  should  support 


and  assist  him  in  the  struggle  against  inhumanity  and  op- 
pression which  he  felt  to  be  imminent.  It  was  to  him  a  great 
mystery  how  those  who  preached  the  gospel  to  the  poor,  and 
who,  by  their  Divine  Master,  were  sent  to  heal  the  broken- 
hearted, to  preach  deliverance  to  the  captives,  and  to  set  at 
liberty  those  that  were  bruised,  could  be  his  opponents  and 

Mr.  Newton  Bateman,  Superintendent  of  Public  Instruction 
for  the  State  of  Illinois,  occupied  a  room  adjoining  and  opening 
into  the  Executive  Chamber.  Frequently  this  door  was  open 
during  Mr.  Lincoln's  receptions;  and  throughout  the  seven 
months  or  more  of  his  occupation  Mr.  Bateman  saw  him 
nearly  every  day.  Often  when  Mr.  Lincoln  was  tired  he 
closed  his  door  against  all  intrusion,  and  called  Mr.  Bateman 
into  his  room  for  a  quiet  talk.  On  one  of  these  occasions 
Mr.  Lincoln  took  up  a  book  containing  a  careful  canvass  of 
the  city  of  Springfield  in  which  he  lived,  showing  the  candi- 
date for  whom  each  citizen  had  declared  it  his  intention  to 
vote  in  the  approaching  election.  Mr.  Lincoln's  friends  had, 
doubtless  at  his  own  request,  placed  the  result  of  the  canvass 
in  his  hands.  This  was  toward  the  close  of  October,  and 
only  a  few  days  before  the  election.  Calling  Mr.  Bateman  to  a 
seat  at  his  side,  having  previously  locked  all  the  doors,  he  said : 
"let  us  look  over  this  book.  I  wish  particularly  to  see  how 
the  ministers  of  Springfield  are  going  to  vote."  The  leaves 
were  turned,  one  by  one,  and  as  the  names  were  examined 
Mr.  Lincoln  frequently  asked  if  this  one  and  that  were  not  a 
minister,  or  an  elder,  or  the  member  of  such  or  such  a  church, 
and  sadly  expressed  his  surprise  on  receiving  an  affirmative 
answer.  In  that  manner  they  went  through  the  book,  and 
then  he  closed  it  and  sat  silently  and  for  some  minutes  regard- 
ing a  memorandum  in  pencil  which  lay  before  him.  At  length 
he  turned  to  Mr.  Bateman  with  a  face  full  of  sadness,  and 
said :  "  Here  are  twenty-three  ministers,  of  different  denomi- 
nations, and  all  of  them  are  against  me  but  three ;  and  here 
are  a  great  many  prominent  members  of  the  churches,  a  very 
large  majority  of  whom  are  against  me.  Mr.  Bateman,  I  am 


not  a  Christian — God  knows  I  would  be  one — but  I  have 
carefully  read  the  Bible,  and  I  do  not  so  understand  this 
book ; "  and  he  drew  from  his  bosom  a  pocket  New  Testament. 
"These  men  well  know,"  he  continued,  "that  I  am  for  freedom 
in  the  territories,  freedom  everywhere  as  far  as  the  Constitu- 
tion and  laws  will  permit,  and  that  my  opponents  are  for 
slavery.  They  know  this,  and  yet,  with  this  book  in  their 
hands,  in  the  light  of  which  human  bondage  cannot  live  a 
moment,  they  are  going  to  vote  against  me.  I  do  not  under- 
stand it  at  all." 

Here  Mr.  Lincoln  paused — paused  for  long  minutes,  his 
features  surcharged  with  emotion.  Then  he  rose  and  walked 
up  and  down  the  room  in  the  effort  to  retain  or  regain  his 
self-possession.  Stopping  at  last,  he  said,  with  a  trembling 
voice  and  his  cheeks  wet  with  tears :  "  I  know  there  is  a  God, 
and  that  He  hates  injustice  and  slavery.  I  see  the  storm 
coming,  and  I  know  that  His  hand  is  in  it.  If  He  has  a  place 
and  work  for  me — and  I  think  He  has — I  believe  I  am  ready. 
I  am  nothing,  but  truth  is  everything.  I  know  I  am  right 
because  I  know  that  liberty  is  right,  for  Christ  teaches  it, 
and  Christ  is  God.  I  have  told  them  that  a  house  divided 
against  itself  cannot  stand,  and  Christ  and  reason  say  the 
same;  and  they  will  find  it  so.  Douglas  don't  care  whether 
slavery  is  voted  up  or  voted  down,  but  God  cares,  and  hu- 
manity cares,  and  I  care ;  and  with  God's  help  I  shall  not 
fail.  I  may  not  see  the  end ;  but  it  will  come,  and  I  shall  be 
vindicated ;  and  these  men  will  find  that  they  have  not  read 
their  Bibles  aright." 

Much  of  this  was  uttered  as  if  he  were  speaking  to  him- 
self, and  with  a  sad  and  earnest  solemnity  of  manner  impos- 
sible to  be  described.  After  a  pause,  he  resumed:  "Doesn't 
it  appear  strange  that  men  can  ignore  the  moral  aspects  of 
this  contest?  A  revelation  could  not  make  it  plainer  to  me 
that  slavery  or  the  government  must  be  destroyed.  The  future 
would  be  something  awful,  as  I  look  at  it,  but  for  this  rock  on 
which  I  stand"  (alluding  to  the  Testament  which  he  still  held 
in  his  hand,)  "especially  with  the  knowledge  of  how  these 


ministers  are  going  to  vote.     It  seems  as  if  God  had  borne 

O  o 

with  this  thing  (slavery)  until  the  very  teachers  of  religion 
have  come  to  defend  it  from  the  Bible,  and  to  claim  for  it  a 
divine  character  and  sanction ;  and  now  the  cup  of  iniquity 
is  full,  and  the  vials  of  wrath  will  be  poured  out." 

His  last  reference  was  to  certain  prominent  clergymen  in 
the  South,  Drs.  Ross  and  Palmer  among  the  number ;  and  he 
went  on  to  comment  on  the  atrociousness  and  essential  blas- 
phemy of  their  attempts  to  defend  American  slavery  from  the 
Bible.  After  this  the  conversation  was  continued  for  a  long 


time.  Everything  he  said  was  of  a  peculiarly  deep,  tender 
and  religious  tone,  and  all  was  tinged  with  a  touchin^  melan- 

O  O  O 

choly.  He  repeatedly  referred  to  his  conviction  that  the  day 
of  wrath  was  at  hand,  and  that  he  was  to  be  an  actor  in  the 
terrible  struggle  which  would  issue  in  the  overthrow  of  slav- 
ery, though  he  might  not  live  to»  see  the  end.  He  repeated 
many  passages  of  the  Bible,  and  seemed  specially  impressed 
with  the  solemn  grandeur  of  portions  of  Revelation,  describ- 
ing the  wrath  of  Almighty  God.  In  the  course  of  the  con- 
versation, he  dwelt  much  upon  the  necessity  of  faith  in  the 
Christian's  God,  as  an  element  of  successful  statesmanship, 
especially  in  times  like  those  which  were  upon  him,  and  said 
that  it  gave  that  calmness  and  tranquillity  of  mind,  that  as- 
surance of  ultimate  success,  which  made  a  man  firm  and  im- 
movable amid  the  wildest  excitements.  After  further  refer- 
ence to  a  belief  in  Divine  Providence,  and  the  fact  of  God  in 
history,  the  conversation  turned  upon  prayer.  He  freely 
stated  his  belief  in  the  duty,  privilege  and  efficacy  of  prayer, 
and  intimated,  in  no  unmistakable  terms,  that  he  had  sought 
in  that  way  the  divine  guidance  and  favor. 

The  effect  of  this  conversation  upon  the  mind  of  Mr.  Bate- 
man,  a  Christian  gentleman  whom  Mr.  Lincoln  profoundly 
respected,  was  to  convince  him,  that  Mr.  Lincoln  had,  in  his 
quiet  way,  found  a  path  to  the  Christian  stand-point — that  he 
had  found  God,  and  rested  on  the  eternal  truth  of  God  As 
the  two  men  were  about  to  separate,  Mr.  Bateman  remarked: 
"I  have  not  supposed  that  you  were  accustomed  to  think  so 


much  upon  this  class  of  subjects.  Certainly  your  friends  gen- 
erally are  ignorant  of  the  sentiments  you  have  expressed  to 
me."  He  replied  quickly :  "I  know  they  are.  I  am  obliged 
to  appear  different  to  them;  but  I  think  more  on  these  sub- 
jects than  upon  all  others,  and  I  have  done  so  for  yearsj^jind  <  / 
I  am  willing  that  you  should  know  it." 

This  remarkable  conversation  furnishes  a  golden  link  in  the  ^ 
chain  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  history.  It  flashes  a  strong  light 
upon  the  path  he  had  already  trod,  and  illuminates  every  page 
of  his  subsequent  record.  Men  have  wondered  at  his  abound- 
ing charity,  his  love  of  men,  his  equanimity  under  the  most 
distressing  circumstances,  his  patience  under  insult  and  mis- 
representation, his  delicate  consideration  of  the  feelings  of 
the  humble,  his  apparent  incapacity  of  resentment,  his  love  of 
justice,  his  transparent  simplicity,  his  truthfulness,  his  good 
will  toward  his  enemies,  his  beautiful  and  unshaken  faith  in 
the  triumph  of  the  right.  There  was  undoubtedly  something 
in  his  natural  constitution  that  favored  the  development  of  these 
qualities ;  but  those  best  acquainted  with  human  nature  will 
hardly  attribute  the  combination  of  excellencies  which  were 
exhibited  in  his  character  and  life  to  the  unaided  forces  of  his 
constitution.  The  man  who  carried  what  he  called  "this 
rock"  in  his  bosom,  who  prayed,  who  thought  more  of  re- 
ligious subjects  than  of  all  others,  who  had  an  undying  faith 
in  the  providence  of  God,  drew  his  life  from  the  highest  foun- 

It  was  one  of  the  peculiarities  of  Mr.  Lincoln  to  hide  these 
religious  experiences  from  the  eyes  of  the  world.  In  the  same 
State  House  where  this  conversation  occurred,  there  were  men 
who  imagined — who  really  believed — who  freely  said — that 
Mr.  Lincoln  had  probably  revealed  himself  with  less  restraint 
to  them  than  to  others — men  who  thought  they  knew  him  as 
they  knew  their  bosom  companions — who  had  never  in  their 
whole  lives  heard  from  his  lips  one  word  of  all  these  religious 
convictions  and  experiences.  They  did  not  regard  him  as  a 
religious  man.  They  had  never  seen  anything  but  the  active 
lawyer,  the  keen  politician,  the  jovial,  fun-loving  companion, 


in  Mr.  Lincoln.  All  this  department  of  his  life  he  had  kept 
carefully  hidden  from  them.  Why  he  should  say  that  he  Avas 
obliged  to  appear  differently  to  others  does  not  appear ;  but 
the  fact  is  a  matter  of  history  that  he  never  exposed  his  own 
religious  life  to  those  who  had  no  sympathy  with  it.  It  is 
doubtful  whether  the  clergymen  of  Springfield  knew  anything 
of  these  experiences.  Very  few  of  them  were  in  political 
sympathy  with  him;  and  it  is  evident  that  he  could  open  his 
heart  to  no  one  except  under  the  most  favorable  circumstances. 
The  fountain  from  which  gushed  up  so  grand  and  good  a  life 
was  kept  carefully  covered  from  the  eyes  of  the  world.  Its 
possessor  looked  into  it  often,  but  the  careless  or  curious 
crowd  were  never  favored  with  the  vision.  There  was  much 
in  his  conduct  that  was  simply  a  cover  to  these  thoughts — an 
attempt  to  conceal  them.  It  is  more  than  probable  that,  on 
separating  with  Mr.  Bateman  on  this  occasion,  he  met  some  old 
friend,  and,  departing  by  a  single  bound  from  his  tearful  mel- 
ancholy and  his  sublime  religious  passion,  he  told  him  some 
story,  or  indulged  in  some  jest,  that  filled  his  own  heart  with 
mirthfulness,  and  awoke  convulsions  of  laughter  in  him  who 
heard  it. 

These  sudden  and  wide  transitions  of  feeling  were  common 
with  him.  He  lived  for  years  a  double  life — a  deep  and  a 
shallow  one,  Oppressed  with  great  responsibilities,  absorbed 
by  the  most  profound  problems  relating  to  his  own  spirit  and 
destiny,  brought  into  sympathetic  relation  with  the  woes  of 
the  world,  and  living  much  in  the  very  depths  of  a  sadness 
whose  natural  fountain  had  been  deepened  by  the  experience 
of  his  life,  he  found  no  relief  except  by  direct  and  entire 
translation  to  that  other  channel  of  his  life  which  lay  among 
his  shallowest  emotions.  His  sense  of  the  ludicrous  and  the 
grotesque,  of  the  witty  and  the  funny,  was  really  something 
wonderful ;  and  when  this  sense  was  appealed  to  by  a  story, 
or  an  incident,  or  a  jest,  he  seemed  to  leave  all  his  dignity 
aside,  and  give  himself  up  to  mirth  with  no  more  of  self-re- 
straint than  if  he  were  a  boy  of  twelve  years.  He  resorted 
to  this  channel  of  life  for  relief.  It  was  here  that  he  won 


strength  for  trial  by  forgetting  trial.  It  was  here  that  lie 
restored  the  balance  which  sadness  had  destroyed.  Such  a 
nature  and  character  seem  full  of  contradictions ;  and  a  man 
who  is  subject  to  such  transitions  will  always  be  a  mystery  to 
those  who  do  not  know  him  wholly.  Thus  no  two  men  among 
his  intimate  friends  will  agree  concerning  him. 

The  writer  has  conversed  with  multitudes  of  men  who 
claimed  to  know  Mr.  Lincoln  intimately;  yet  there  are  not 
two  of  the  whole  number  who  agree  in  their  estimate  of  him. 
The  fact  was  that  he  rarely  showed  more  than  one  aspect  of 
himself  to  one  man.  lie  opened  himself  to  men  in  different 
directions.  It  was  rare  that  he  exhibited  what  was  relio-ious 


in  him ;  and  he  never  did  this  at  all,  except  when  he  found 
just  the  nature  and  character  that  were  sympathetic  with  that 
aspect  and  element  of  his  character.  A  great  deal  of  his 
best,  deepest,  largest  life  he  kept  almost  constantly  from  view, 
because  he  would  not  expose  it  to  the  eyes'  and  apprehension 
of  the  careless  multitude. 

To  illustrate  the  effect  of  the  peculiarity  of  Mr.  Lincoln's 
intercourse*  with  men,  it  may  be  said  that  men  who  knew  him 
through  all  his  professional  and  political  life  have  offered 
opinions  as  diametrically  opposite  as  these,  viz:  that  he  was 
a  very  ambitious  man,  and  that  he  was  without  a  particle  of 
ambition ;  that  he  was  one  of  the  saddest  men  that  ever  lived, 
and  that  he  was  one  of  the  jolliest  men  that  ever  lived ;  that 
he  was  very  religious,  but  that  he  was  not  a  Christian ;  that 
he  was  a  Christian,  but  did  not  know  it ;  that  he  was  so 
far  from  being  a  religious  man  or  a  Christian  that  "  the  less 
said  upon  that  subject  the  better ;"  that  he  was  the  most 
cunning  man  in  America,  and  that  he  had  not  a  particle  of 
cunning  in  him;  that  he  had  the  strongest  personal  attach- 
ments, and  that  he  had  no  personal  attachments  at  all — only  a 
general  good  feeling  toward  everybody ;  that  he  was  a  man  of 
indomitable  will,  and  that  he  was  a  man  almost  without  a 
will ;  that  he  was  a  tyrant,  and  that  he  was  the  softest-hearted, 
most  brotherly  man  that  ever  lived ;  that  he  was  remarkable 
for  his  pure-mindedness,  and  that  he  was  the  foulest  in  his 


jests  and  stories  of  any  man  in  the  country;  that  he  was  a 
witty  man,  and  that  he  was  only  a  retailer  of  the  wit  of  others ; 
that  his  apparent  candor  and  fairness  were  only  apparent,  and 
that  they  were  as  real  as  his  head  and  his  hands ;  that  he  was 
a  boor,  and  that  he  was  in  all  essential  respects  a  gentleman ; 
that  he  was  a  leader  of  the  people,  and  that  he  was  always 
led  by  the  people ;  that  he  was  cool  and  impassive,  and  that 
he  was  susceptible  of  the  strongest  passions.  It  is  only  by 
tracing  these  separate  streams  of  impression  back  to  their 
fountain  that  we  are  able  to  arrive  at  anything  like  a  compe- 
tent comprehension  of  the  man,  or  to  learn  why  he  came  to 
be  held  in  such  various  estimation.  Men  caught  only  separate 
aspects  of  his  character — only  the  fragments  that  were  called 
into  exhibition  by  their  own  qualities. 


Thus  the  months  passed  away  until  the  election.     His  .room 

was  thronged  by  visitors  from  every  portion  of  the  Union, 
drawn  to  him  by  a  great  variety  of  motives ;  and  to  all  he 
gave  an  open  and  cordial  welcome.  In  the  meantime  his  po- 
litical opponents  had  virtually  given  up  the  contest.  While 
they  worked  faithfully  within  their  own  organizations,  they 
openly  or  secretly  conceded  his  election.  At  the  South  no 
attempt  was  made  to  conceal  the  conviction  that  he  would  be 
the  next  President  of  the  United  States.  Indeed,  this  was  so 
entirely  what  they  desired  that  they  would  have  regarded  the 
election  of  Mr.  Douglas  as  a  calamity,  although  it  may  well 
be  doubted  whether  they  would  have  been  deterred  from  their 
disunion  schemes  by  his  election.  They  took  pains  to  poison 
the  public  mind  by  every  possible  expedient.  They  identified 
the  cause  of  the  republicans  with  the  John  Brown  raid  into 
Virginia,  with  everything  that  was  offensive  to  the  pride  of 
the  South  in  Helper's  "  Impending  Crisis,"  with  "  abolitionism" 
which  was  the  most  disgusting  and  dangerous  sin  in  the  pro- 
slavery  catalogue  of  sins.  It  was  all  a  lie.  Not  a  republican 
was  concerned  in  or  approved  of  the  John  Brown  invasion,  for 
which  Virginia  had  exacted  the  life  of  that  stern  old  enthusiast. 


Helper's  book  was  a  home  production  of  tlie  South ;  and  the 
creed  of  the  party  had  no  item  looking  to  the  abolition  of 
slavery.  Not  content  with  misrepresenting  Mr.  Lincoln's 
cause  and  principles,  they  traduced  him  and  his  associates 
upon  the  ticket.  Mr.  Lincoln  was  called  the  "Illinois  ape," 
and  this,  not  by  the  rabble,  but  by  the  leaders  of  public  opin- 
ion ;  while  Mr.  Hamlin  was  actually  believed  by  many  south- 
ern people  to  be  a  mulatto,  through  the  representations  of 
presses  and  politicians.  Every  falsehood  that  could  sting  the 
southern  mind  to  malignity  and  resentment  against  the  North, 
and  make  detestable  the  man  whom  the  North  was  about  to 
elect  to  the  presidency,  was  shamelessly  uttered.  The  object, 
of  course,  was  to  fill  the  southern  mind  with  bitterness  against 

7  O 

the  North,  to  alienate  the  Union  from  its  affections,  to  foster 
its  pride,  and  to  prepare  it  for  the  premeditated  and  prepared 

Mr.  Lincoln  saw  the  gathering  storm,  and  felt  that  upon 
him  it  would  expend  its  wildest  fury ;  yet  he  cherished  no  re- 
sentment against  these  men  or  their  section  for  all  the  wrongs 

O  O 

they  heaped  upon  him,  and  the  woes  they  were  bringing  upon 
the  country.  He  was  only  an  instrument  in  the  hands  of  a 
higher  power.  It  was  only  the  natural  exhibition  of  the 
spirit  of  a  system  of  wrong  which  was  making  its  last  terrible 
struggle  for  life.  The  hatred  aroused  in  him  passed  over  the 
heads  of  his  enemies  and  fastened  itself  upon  the  institution 
which  could  make  such  demons  of  men.  If  he  was  an  instru- 
ment in  the  hands  of  a  higher  power,  they  were  instruments 
in  the  hands  of  a  lower  power,  malignant  but  mighty  indeed. 
He  had  charity,  because  he  felt  these  men  to  be  the  victims 
of  a  false  education — of  a  great  mistake.  He  remembered 
that  had  he  been  bred  as  they  had  been,  the  probabilities  were 
that  he  should  sympathize  with  them. 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  what  was  called  a  wise  candidate.  He 
held  his  tongue.  No  abuse  provoked  him  to  utter  a  word  in 
self-vindication.  Pie  had  accepted  the  platform  of  the  party 
and  his  record  was  before  the  country.  So  he  calmly  awaited 
the  result. 


On  the  sixth  of  November  the  election  took  place  through- 
out the  whole  country,  and  the  result  was  Mr.  Lincoln's  tri- 
umph, not  by  a  majority  of  the  votes  cast,  but  by  a  handsome 
plurality.  The  popular  vote  for  him  was  1,857,610;  while 
Stephen  A.  Douglas  received  1,365,976  votes,  John  C.  Breck- 
inridge  847,953,  and  John  Bell  590,631.  In  the  electoral 
college  Mr.  Lincoln  had  180  votes,  Mr.  Douglas  receiving  12, 
Mr.  Breckinridge  72,  and  Mr.  Bell  39;  and  when,  on  the  fol- 
lowing thirteenth  of  February,  in  a  joint  session  of  both 
Houses  of  Congress,  these  votes  were  declared,  it  was  the  of- 
fice of  John  C.  Breckinridge  himself, 'then  Vice-President,  to 
pronounce  Mr.  Lincoln  the  constitutionally  elected  President 
of  the  United  States  for  four  years  from  the  succeeding  fourth 
of  March.  And  this  man  who,  by  going  into  the  election  as  a 
candidate  for  the  presidency,  and  declaring  the  result  of  the 
contest,  had  bound  himself  by  every  principle  of  honor  to 
abide  by  the  result,  was  a  foul  traitor  at  heart,  and  only  left 
the  chair  he  disgraced  to  become  a  leader  in  the  armies  of 

The  result  of  the  election  was  great  popular  rejoicing  at 
the  North,  great  exasperation  at  the  South,  great  fear  and 
trembling  among  compromisers  of  both  sections,  and  a  general 
conviction  that  the  crisis  so  long  threatened  was  actually  upon 
the  nation.  Among  the  republicans  there  was  this  feeling :  that 
they  had  fairly,  on  an  open  declaration  of  principles  and  policy, 
and  strictly  according  to  the  provisions  of  the  Constitution, 
elected  a  president;  and  that  if,  for  this,  the  South  was  de- 
termined to  make  war,  the  contest  might  as  well  come  first  as 
last.  They  knew  they  had  made  no  proposition  and  enter- 
tained no  intention  to  interfere  with  slavery  in  the  states  where 
the  Constitution  protected  it,  that  they  had  made  no  aggres- 
sions upon  the  institution,  and  had  only  endeavored  to  limit 
its  spread  into  free  territory.  If  this  was  cause  of  war,  then 
they  were  ready  for  the  fight.  Feeling  thus,  and  thus  declar- 
ing themselves,  they  still  did  not  generally  believe  there  would 
be  a  war.  They  thought  the  matter  would  yet  rise  upon  the 
wings  of  some  convenient  wind  and  be  blown  away. 


Of  course  the  man  of  all  others  chiefly  concerned  in  the 
results  of  the  election  was  intensely  interested.  The  effect 
upon  his  nervous  system,  not  altogether  ephemeral,  is  well 
illustrated  by  an  incident  which  he  subsequently  related  to 
several  of  his  friend^,  and  which  has  found  no  better  record, 
perhaps,  than  in  an  article  from  the  pen  of  Major  John  Hay, 
one  of  his  private  secretaries  in  Washington,  published  in 
Harper's  Magazine  for  July,  1865.  Major  Hay  reports  the 
incident  as  nearly  as  possible  in  Mr.  Lincoln's  own  words. 

"It  was  just  after  my  election  in  1860,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln, 
"when  the  news  had  been  coming  in  thick  and  fast  all  day, 
and  there  had  been  a  great  '  hurrah  boys !'  so  that  I  was  well 
tired  out  and  Went  home  to  rest,  throwing  myself  upon  a 
lounge  in  my  chamber.  Opposite  to  where  I  lay  was  a  bu- 
reau with  a  swinging  glass  upon  it ;  and  looking  in  that  glass, 
I  saw  myself  reflected  nearly  at  full  length ;  but  my  face,  I 
noticed,  had  two  separate  and  distinct  images,  the  tip  of  the 
nose  of  one  being  about  three  inches  from  the  tip  of  the  other. 
I  was  a  little  bothered,  perhaps  startled,  and  got  up  and  looked 
in  the  glass,  but  the  illusion  vanished.  On  lying  down  again, 
I  saw  it  a  second  time,  plainer,  if  possible,  than  before ;  and 
then  I  noticed  that  one  of  the  faces  was  a  little  paler — say 
five  shades — than  the  other.  I  got  up  and  the  thing  melted 
away,  and  I  went  off,  and,  in  the  excitement  of  the  hour  for- 
got all  about  it, — nearly,  but  not  quite,  for  the  thing  would 
once  in  a  while  come  up,  and  give  me  a  little  pang  as  though 
something  uncomfortable  had  happened.  When  I  went  home, 
I  told  my  wife  about  it,  and  a  few  days  after  I  tried  the  ex- 
periment again,  when,  sure  enough,  the  thing  came  back  again; 
but  I  never  succeeded  in  bringing  the  ghost  back  after  that, 
though  I  once  tried  very  industriously  to  show  it  to  my  wife, 
who  was  worried  about  it  somewhat.  She  thought  it  was  '  a 
sign '  that  I  was  to  be  elected  to  a  second  term  of  office,  and 
that  the  paleness  of  one  of  the  faces  was  an  omen  that  I  should 
not  see  life  through  the  last  term." 

The  President  had  good  sense  enough  to  regard  the  vision 
as  an  optical  illusion,  growing  out  of  the  excited  condition  of 


his  nervous  system  at  the  time ;  yet,  with  that  tinge  of  super- 
stition which  clings  to  every  sensitive  and  deeply -thoughtful 
man,  in  a  world  full  of  mysteries,  he  was  so  far  affected  by  it 
as  to  feel  that  "something  uncomfortable  had  happened."  In 
the  light  of  subsequent  events,  Mrs.  Lincoln's  prophetic  in- 
terpretation of  the  vision  has  almost  a  startling  interest. 

Mr.  Lincoln  had  become  the  most  important  man  on  the 
continent.  Parties  were  given  in  his  honor,  autograph  hunters 
beset  him  everywhere,  and  office-seekers  met  him  on  the  right 
hand  and  on  the  left.  That  he  felt  at  home  in  this  new  life 
is  not  probable,  but  he  had  the  good  sense  to  put  on  no  airs, 
and  to  undertake  no  change  of  his  manners  in  meeting-  men 

o  o 

and  women.  From  the  day  of  his  election  to  the  day  of  his 
death,  he  was  the  same  unpretending  man  that  he  was  when 
he  first  entered  Springfield  to  practice  law.  He  had  known 
nothing  of  drawing-rooms  in  his  youth,  and  he  affected  to 
know  nothing  of  them  when  every  drawing-room  of  loyal 
America  would  have  swung  wide  its  doors  to  welcome  him. 
It  was  noticed  by  the  critical  that  he  found  great  difficulty  in 
disposing  of  his  hands  and  feet.  It  is  quite  possible  that  they 
were  hard  to  be  disposed  of,  and  that  he  succeeded  with  them 
quite  as  well  as  he  would  if  he  had  been  a  master  of  deport- 
ment. If  the  hands  were  large,  they  had  taken  no  bribes ;  if 
his  feet  were  heavy,  they  had  outstripped  the  fleetest  in  the 
race  of  ambition.  If  he  could  not  win  admiration  for  his 
personal  graces,  he  could  win  love  for  his  personal  goodness. 
He  visited  Chicago  after  his  election,  and  met  with  a  mag- 
nificent welcome.  One  or  two  little  incidents  of  this  trip  will 
illustrate  especially  his  consideration  for  children.  He  was 
holding  a  reception  at  the  Tremont  House.  A  fond  father 
took  in  a  little  boy  by  the  hand  who  was  anxious  to  see  the 
new  President.  The  moment  the  child  entered  the  parlor  door, 
he,  of  his  own  motion,  and  quite  to  the  surprise  of  his  father, 
took  off  his  hat,  and  giving  it  a  swing,  cried,  "Hurrah  for 
Lincoln!"  There  was  a  crowd,  but  as  soon  as  Mr.  Lincoln 
could  get  hold  of  the  little  fellow,  he  lifted  him  in  his  hands, 
and  tossing  him  toward  the  ceiling  laughingly  shouted :  "  Hur- 


rah  for  you!"  To  Mr.  Lincoln  it  was  evidently  a  refreshing 
episode  in  the  dreary  work  of  hand-shaking.  At  a  party  in 
Chicago,  during  this  visit,  he  saw  a  little  girl  timidly  ap- 
proaching him.  He  called  her  to  him,  and  asked  her  what 
she  wished  for.  She  replied  that  she  wanted  Mr. 
Lincoln  looked  back  into  the  room  and  said :  "  But  here  are 
other,  little  girls — they  would  feel  badly  if  I  should  give 
my  name  only  to  you."  The  little  girl  replied  that  there 
were  eight  of  them  in  all.  "  Then,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "  get 
me  eight  sheets  of  paper,  and  a  pen  and  ink,  and  I  will  see 
what  I  can  do  for  you."  The  paper  was  brought,  and  Mr. 
Lincoln  sat  down  in  the  crowded  drawing-room,  and  wrote  a 
sentence  upon  each  sheet,  appending  his  name ;  and  thus  every 
little  girl  carried  off  her  souvenir. 

During  all  this  period  of  waiting  for  office,  Mr.  Lincoln 
carried  a  calm  exterior  but  events  were  transpiring  in  the  na- 
tion that  gave  him  the  most  intense  anxiety,  and  filled  every 
leisure  hour  with  painful  thought. 

There  were,  of  course,  the  usual  efforts  at  cabinet  making 
on  the  part  of  presses  and  politicians,  and  he  was  favored  with 
copious  advice.  It  has  been  publicly  said  that  he  really  de- 
sired to  put  Mr.  Stephens  of  Georgia,  whom  he  had  been 
somewhat  intimate  with  in  Congress,  into  his  cabinet.  The 
appointment  was  at  least  strongly  urged  upon  him.  The  re- 
publicans were  seeking  for  some  policy  by  which  the  South 
could  be  silenced  and  held  to  its  allegiance.  Many  republi- 
cans in  Washington  were  inclined  to  compromise  the  slavery 
question  on  the  popular  sovereignty  position.  Others  thought 
it  would  be  well  to  put  southerners  into  the  cabinet,  and  the 
names  of  Stephens  of  Georgia  and  Scott  of  Virginia  were 
mentioned.  These  facts  a  personal  friend  communicated  to 
Mr.  Lincoln,  and  under  date  of  December  eighteenth,  he  re- 
plied :  "  I  am  sorry  any  republican  inclines  to  dally  with  popu- 
lar sovereignty  of  any  sort.  It  acknowledges  that  slavery 
has  equal  rights  with  liberty,  and  surrenders  all  we  have  con- 
tended for.  Once  fastened  on  us  as  a  settled  policy,  filibus- 
tering for  all  south  of  us  and  making  slave  states  of  it  follow 


in  spite  of  us,  with  an  early  supreme  court  decision  holding 
our  free  state  constitutions  to  be  unconstitutional.  Would 
Scott  or  Stephens  go  into  the  cabinet?  And  if  yea,  on  what 
terms  ?  Do  they  come  to  me  ?  or  I  go  to  them  ?  Or  are  we 
to  lead  off  in  open  hostility  to  each  other  ?" 

In  Mr.  Lincoln,  though  the  prospect  was  dark  and  the  way 
dangerous,  there  was  no  disposition  to  compromise  the  princi- 
ples of  his  life  and  his  party,  and  no  entertainment  of  the  illu- 
sion that  concord  could  come  of  discord  in  his  cabinet.  In  the 
latter  matter  he  kept  his  own  counsel  and  awaited  his  own 


To  appreciate  the  enormity  of  the  rebellion  of  which  Mr. 
Lincoln's  election  was  made  the  pretext,  by  the  southern 
leaders,  it  is  never  to  be. forgotten  that  the  whole  South,  by 
becoming  a  party  in  the  election,  committed  itself  to  the  result. 
They  were  in  all  honor  bound  to  abide  by  that  result,  what- 
ever it  might  be.  If  the  foes  of  Mr.  Lincoln  had  refused  to 
vote  at  all,  they  would  have  gone  into  the  rebellion  with  a 
much  cleaner  record ;  but  the  first  item  of  that  record  was  a 
breach  of  personal  honor  on  the  part  of  every  man  who  en- 
gaged in  insurrection.  Every  member  of  both  houses  of 
Congress,  every  member  of  the  cabinet,  and  every  federal 
office-holder  who  turned  against  the  government,  was  obliged, 
beyond  this  breach  of  personal  honor  to  become  a  perjurer — 
to  trample  upon  the  solemn  oath  by  virtue  of  which  he  held 
his  office. 

Allusion  has  already  been  made  to  the  operations  of  the 
plotters  in  Mr.  Buchanan's  cabinet.  Before  the  election, 
Floyd  had,  as  has  already  been  stated,  sent  one  hundred  and 
fifteen  thousand  muskets  from  northern  armories  to  southern 
arsenals.  General  Scott  had  warned  him  of  the  danger  to 
which  the.  federal  forts  at  the  South  were  liable,  and  had  ad- 
vised that,  as  a  precautionary  measure,  they  should  be  garri- 
soned. To  this  warning  the  secret  traitor  paid  no  attention. 
Attorney  General  Black  had  given  his  official  opinion  that 
Congress  had  no  right  to  carry  on  a  war  against  any  state. 
The  President  himself  was  only  a  weak  instrument  in  the 


hands  of  the  intrigners.  lie  consented  to  have  his  hands  tied ; 
and  if  he  made  any  protests  they  were  weak  and  childish. 
More  than  anything  else  he  longed  to  have  them  delay  the 
execution  of  their  schemes  until  he  should  be  released  from 

South  Carolina,  the  breeding  bed  of  secession  and  the  birth- 
place of  the  fatal  State  Eights  Heresy,  took  the  lead  in  the  se- 
cession movement,  and  called  a  state  convention  to  meet  at  Co- 
lumbia on  the  seventeenth  of  December.  On  the  tenth  of 
November,  four  days  after  the  election,  a  bill  was  introduced 
in  the  legislature  of  the  state  calling  out  ten  thousand  volun- 
teers. The  two  senators  from  South  Carolina,  Chesnut  and 
Hammond,  resigned  their  seats,  one  on  the  tenth  and  the 
other  on  the  eleventh  of  the  same  month.  Robert  Toombs,  a 
Georgia  senator,  made  a  violent  secession  speech  at  Milledge- 
ville  in  his  own  state,  and  this,  notwithstanding  the  fact  that 
he  continued  to  hold  his  seat.  Howell  Cobb,  the  Secretary 
of  the  Treasury,  resigned  on  the  tenth  of  December,  declaring 
his  inability  to  relieve  the  treasury  from  the  embarrassments 
into  which  he  had  purposely  led  it ;  and  two  days  before  the 
secession  convention  met  in  South  Carolina  the  Secretary  of 
War,  Floyd,  accepted  the  requisition  of  that  state  for  her  quota 
of  United  States  arms  for  1861.  Meetings  were  held  all  over 
the  South  where  treason  was  boldly  plotted  and  promulgated, 
and  the  people  were  goaded  to  the  adoption  of  the  desperate 
expedients  determined  upon  by  the  leaders.  The  South  Caro- 
lina Secession  Convention  met  at  Columbia  on  the  seventeenth 
of  December,  but,  on  account  of  the  prevalence  of  the  small 
pox  there,  adjourned  to  Charleston,  where,  on  the  twentieth, 
they  formally  passed  an  ordinance  of  separation,  and  declared 
"that  the  Union  now  (then)  subsisting  between  South  Caro- 
lina and  other  states  under  the  name  of  the  United  States  of 
America  is  hereby  (was  thereby)  dissolved." 

The  passage  of  this  ordinance  filled  the  Charlestonians  with 
delight,  and,  in  the  evening,  in  the  presence  of  an  immense 
crowd,  the  fatal  instrument  was  signed  and  sealed  ;  and  Gov- 
ernor Pickens  immediately  issued  a  proclamation,  declaring 


South  Carolina  to  be  "  a  separate,  free,  sovereign  and  inde- 
pendent state."  This  was  followed  by  the  withdrawal  of 
Messrs.  McQueen,  Boyd,  Bonham  and  Ashmore  from  Con- 
gress, although  their  resignation  was  not  recognized  by  the 
speaker,  on  the  ground  that  such  an  act  would  be  a  recogni- 
tion of  the  legitimacy  of  the  action  of  the  state. 

Before  the  adjournment  of  the  South  Carolina  Convention, 
resolutions  were  passed  calling  for  a  convention  of  the  seceding 
states  to  be  held  at  Montgomery,  Alabama,  for  the  purpose  of 
forming  a  southern  confederacy,  and  providing  or  suggesting  a 
plan  of  operations  and  organization.  The  Congressional  con- 
spirators were  active  in  Washington,  and  in  constant  com- 
munication with  their  respective  states,  urging  on  the  work 
of  national  disintegration.  On  the  eighth  of  January  a  cau- 
cus of  southern  senators  at  Washington  counseled  immediate 
secession ;  and  at  the  national  capital  there  was  no  influence 
that  could,  or  would,  withstand  this  reckless  and  rampant 
treason.  As  quickly  as  it  could  be  done  consistently  with  the 
safety  of  the  cause  of  treason,  Mississippi,  Florida,  Alabama, 
Georgia,  Louisiana  and  Texas,  followed  the  lead  of  South 
Carolina  into  secession.  Forts  and  arsenals  were  seized  in  all 
the  seceded  states,  the  .steamer  Star  of  the  West,  sent  to 
Charleston  with  reinforcements  and  supplies  for  Major  Ander- 
son, was  driven  out  of  the  harbor,  a  southern  confederacy  was 
formed,  with  Jefferson  Davis  as  president,  and  thus,  by  every 
necessary  preliminary  act,  was  the  most  terrible  rebellion  in- 
augurated that  has  ever  reddened  the  pages  of  history.  In  cab- 
inet meeting,  the  southern  secretaries,  still  occupying  places, 
were  boldly  demanding  that  the  forts  at  Charleston  should  be 
evacuated ;  and  Mr.  Buchanan  was  too  weak  to  take  a  posi- 
tion against  them.  But  he  had  one  man  in  his  cabinet  who 
was  not  afraid  to  speak  the  truth.  Edwin  M.  Stanton  who 
had  been  called  to  fill  the  office  of  attorney  general  on  the  re- 
tirement of  Mr.  Black,  rose  and  said:  "Mr.  President,  it  is 
my  duty,  as  your  legal  adviser,  to  say  that  you  have  no  right 
to  give  up  the  property  of  the  government,  or  abandon  the 
soldiers  of  the  United  States  to  its  enemies ;  and  the  course 


proposed  by  the  Secretary  of  the  Interior,  if  followed,  is  trea- 
son, and  will  involve  you  and  all  concerned  m  treason."  For 
the  first  time  in  this  cabinet  treason  had  been  called  by  its 
true  name,  and  the  men  who  were  leading  the  President  and 
the  country  to  ruin  were  told  to  their  faces  the  nature  of  their 
foul  business.  Floyd  and  Thompson,  who  had  had  every- 
thing their  own  way,  sprang  fiercely  to  their  feet,  while  Mr. 
Holt,  the  Postmaster  General,  took  his  position  by  the  side 
of  Mr.  Stanton;  and  Mr.  Buchanan  besought  them  with  a 
senile  whine  to  take  their  seats.  Thus  bolstered  by  Mr. 
Stanton  the  President  determined  not  to  withdraw  Major  An- 
derson. This  act  of  Mr.  Stanton  was  the  first  in  Mr.  Bu- 
chanan's administration  that  seemed  to  be  based  on  a  full 
comprehension  of  the  nature  of  the  situation;  and  it  was  a 
noble  introduction  to  the  great  work  he  was  destined  to  ac- 
complish in  the  suppression  of  the  rebellion. 

These  events  occurring  in  rapid  succession  produced  a  pro- 
found impression  at  the  North.  The  whole  country  was  filled 
with  feverish  apprehension.  A  peace  Congress  took  up  its 
abode  in  Washington,  with  the  notorious  John  Tyler  for 
president.  Measures  of  compromise  were  introduced  into 
Congress  and  urged  with  great  vigor.  Those  northern  states 
that  had  passed  "personal  liberty  bills,"  and  other  measures 
offensive  to  the  South  made  haste  to  repeal  them,  that  all  pos- 
sible pretexts  for  rebellion  might  be  put  out  of  the  way. 
Every  practicable  attempt  was  made  by  the  fearful  and  the 
faithless  to  compel  such  concessions  to  the  slave  power  as 
would  calm  its  ire,  and  obviate  the  necessity  of  armed  collision. 
There  were  not  wanting  men  in  the  North  whose  sympathies 
were  with  the  traitors,  and  who  would  willingly  and  gladly 
have  joined  them  in  the  attempt  to  revolutionize  the  govern- 
ment, by  preventing  Mr.  Lincoln  from  taking  his  seat,  and 
delivering  over  Washington  and  the  government  to  the  plot- 
ters. Indeed,  many  of  the  traitors  openly  declared  that  by 
secession  they  did  not  mean  secession  at  all,  but  revolution. 
Commerce  and  manufactures  begged  for  peace  at  the  slave- 
holder's price,  whatever  it  might  be. 


Washington  itself  was  full  of  treason.  It  was  the  prevail- 
ing spirit  of  all  the  fashionable  life  of  the  national  capital. 
All  the  governmental  departments  were  crowded  with  it.  It 
was  the  talk  of  the  hotels.  Loyalty  was  snubbed  and  dis- 
honored. Maryland,  though  she  had  passed  no  ordinance  of 
secession,  was  disloyal.  The  sympathies  of  the  higher  classes 
of  Baltimore  were  all  with  the  traitors.  Thus  secession  was 
an  accomplished  fact,  the  forts  and  arsenals  of  the  United 
States  at  the  South  were  in  the  hands  of  the  traitors,  the 
northern  arsenals  were  stripped,  every  available  ship  with 
the  exception  of  two  was  beyond  call,  the  confederate  govern- 
ment was  organized,  the  United  States  treasury  was  bank- 
rupt, the  whole  South  was  seething  with  the  excitement  of 
treason,  disloyalty  reigned  in  every  department  of  the  gov- 
ernment, southern  sympathizers  were  scattered  over  the  whole 
North,  business  was  depressed,  and  a  fearful  looking-for  of 
terrible  days  and  terrible  events  had  taken  possession  of  those 
who  still  loved  the  Union,  when  Mr.  Lincoln  started  on  his 
journey  to  Washington,  to  assume  the  office  to  which  he  had 
been  elected. 

Silently,  and  with  sad  forebodings,  had  he  waited  in  Spring- 
field the  opening  of  the  storm.  With  an  intense  interest  IK  had 
followed  the  development  of  the  disunion  scheme,  and  knowing 
the  character  of  the  southern  leaders  he  appreciated  the  des- 
perate nature  of  the  struggle  upon  which  he  was  entering. 

On  the  llth  of  February,  1861,  Mr.  Lincoln  reluctantly 
bade  adieu  to  the  peaceful  scenes  of  home  and  the  grateful 
presence  of  his  best  personal  friends,  for  the  untried  field  of 
high  official  life.  That  he  dreaded  the  change,  and  committed 
himself  to  it  with  the  gravest  forebodings,  there  is  no  ques- 
tion. Already  had  the  threats  of  assassination  reached  his 
ears,  It  had  been  widely  hinted  by  his  enemies  that  his  in- 
auguration would  never  be  permitted ;  and  even  if  it  should 
be,  he  knew  that  the  most  oppressive  duties  awaited  him. 

On  his  departure  for  the  railroad  station,  he  was  accompa- 
nied by  a  large  concourse  of  his  neighbors  and  friends,  the 
most  of  whom  insisted  on  a  parting  shake  of  the  hand.  After 


passing  through  this  trial,  he  appeared  upon  the  platform  of 
the  car  set  apart  for  himself  and  his  family  and  friends,  and 
with  the  deepest  feeling  delivered  to  them  his  parting  words. 

"My  friends,"  said  he,  "no  one  not  in  my  position  can  ap- 
preciate the  sadness  I  feel  at  this  parting.  To  this  people  I 
owe  all  that  I  am.  Here  I  have  lived  more  than  a  quarter  of 
a  century.  Here  my  children  were  born,  and  here  one  of  them 
lies  buried.  I  know  not  how  soon  I  shall  see  you  again.  A 
duty  devolves  upon  me  which  is  greater,  perhaps,  than  that 
which  has  devolved  upon  any  other  man  since  the  days  of 
Washington.  He  never  wouU  have  succeeded  except  for  the 
aid  of  Divine  Providence,  upon  which  he  at  all  times  relied. 
I  feel  that  I  cannot  succeed  without  the  same  divine  aid  which 
sustained  him,  and  on  the  same  Almighty  Being  I  place  my 
reliance  for  support :  and  I  hope  you,  my  friends,  will  pray 
that  I  may  receive  that  divine  assistance  without  which  I  can- 
not succeed,  but  with  which  success  is  certain.  Again,  I  bid 
you  all  an  affectionate  farewell." 

This  parting  address  was  telegraphed  to  every  part  of  the 
country,  and  was  strangely  misinterpreted.  So  little  was  the 
man's  character  understood  that  his  simple  and  earnest  request 
that  his  neighbors  should  pray  for  him  was  received  by  many 
as  an  evidence  both  of  his  weakness  and  his  hypocrisy.  No 
President  had  ever  before  asked  the  people,  in  a  public  address, 
to  pray  for  him.  It  sounded  like  the  cant  of  the  conventicle 
to  ears  unaccustomed  to  the  language  of  piety  from  the  lips 
of  politicians.  The  request  was  tossed  about  as  a  joke — "  old 
Abe's  last" — but  it  came  from  a  heart  surcharged  with  a  sense 
of  need,  and  strong  in  its  belief  that  the  Almighty  listens  to 
the  prayers  of  men. 

Mr.  Lincoln  had  before  him,  on  this,  journey,  one  of  the 
most  difficult  tasks  of  his  life.  The  country  was  very  anxious 
to  get  some  hint  as  to  his  policy.  This  hint  he  did  not  intend 
to  give,  until  he  should  be  obliged  to  give  it  officially.  His 
task,  then,  of  talking  without  saying  anything,  was  not  only 
a  new  one,  but  it  was  one  for  which  he  had  no  talent.  He 
had  never  acquired,  and  could  never  acquire,  the  faculty  of 


uttering  graceful  and  acceptable  nothings.  Give  him  some- 
thing to  talk  about,  and  he  could  talk.  Give  him  a  knotty 
point  to  argue,  and  he  could  argue ;  but  to  talk  for  the  mere 
purpose  of  talk  was  beyond  his  power.  To  talk  when  it  was 
his  impulse  and  his  policy  to  say  nothing,  was  the  hardest 
task  of  his  life.  Hence,  there  had  never  been  a  passage  in 
his  life  in  which  he  appeared  to  such  a  disadvantage  as  he  did 
in  the  speeches  made  during  this  journey.  He  could  win  the 
profoundest  admiration  of  the  gifted  and  the  learned  at  the 
Cooper  Institute,  but  on  the  platform  of  a  railroad  car,  or  be- 
fore an  august  committee  of  city  magnates,  he  was  as  much 
at  a  loss  as  a  school-boy  would  have  been. 

Mrs.  Lincoln  and  her  three  boys  were  in  the  car  as  it  rolled 
out  of  Springfield ;  and  with  them  a  number  of  Mr.  Lincoln's 
old  friends,  Governor  Yates,  Ex-Governor  Moore,  Dr.  W. 
M.  "Wallace,  Hon.  N.  P.  Judd,  Hon.  O.  H.  Browning,  Judge- 
David  Davis  and  Colonel  E.  E.  Ellsworth  were  of  the  num- 
ber, as  were  also  John  M.  Hay  and  J.  G.  Nicolay,  afterwards 
Mr.  Lincoln's  private  secretaries.  The  first  point  of  destina- 
tion was  Indianapolis,  but  Mr.  Lincoln  was  called  out  at  va- 
rious places  on  the  route,  to  respond  to  the  greetings  of  the 
crowds  that  had  assembled  at  the  way  stations. 

On  arriving  at  Indianapolis,  the  party  found  the  city  en- 
tirely devoted  for  the  time  to  the  pleasant  task  of  giving  their 
elected  chief  magistrate  a  fitting  reception.  Business  was 
suspended,  flags  were  floating  everywhere,  and  when,  at  five 
o'clock,  the  train  rolled  into  the  Union  depot,  a  salute  of 
thirty-four  guns  announced  them  and  gave  them  greeting. 
Governor  Morton  addressed  to  Mr.  Lincoln  an  earnest  and 
hearty  speech  of  welcome,  and  then  the  presidential  party 
were  escorted  through  the  principal  streets  by  a  procession 
composed  of  both  houses  of  the  legislature,  the  municipal 
authorities,  and  the  military  and  firemen.  Arriving  at  the 
Bates  House,  Mr.  Lincoln  was  called  for,  when  he  appeared, 
and  made  the  following  brief  address : 

"Fellow  citizens  of  the  State  of  Indiana:  I  am  here  to  thank  yon  much 
for  this  magnificent  welcome,  and  still  more  for  the  very  generous  support 


given  by  your  state  to  that  political  cause,  which  I  think  is  the  true  and 
just  cause  of  the  whole  country  and  the  whole  world.  Solomon  saya 
'there  is  a  time  to  keep  silence;'  and  when  men  wrangle  by  the  mouth, 
with  no  certainty  that  they  mean  the  same  thing  while  using  the  same 
words,  it  perhaps  were  as  well  if  they  would  keep  silence.  The  words 
'coercion'  and  'invasion'  are  much  used  in  these  days,  and  often  with 
some  temper  and  hot  blood.  Let  us  make  sure,  if  we  can,  that  we  do 
not  misunderstand  the  meaning  of  those  who  use  them.  Let  us  get  the 
exact  definitions  of  these  words,  not  from  dictionaries,  but  from  the  men 
themselves,  who  certainly  deprecate  the  things  they  would  represent  by 
the  use  of  the  words.  What,  then,  is  '  coercion  V  What  is  '  invasion  V 
Would  the  marching  of  an  army  into  South  Carolina,  without  the  con- 
sent of  her  people,  and  with  hostile  intent  towards  them,  be  invasion  ? 
I  certainly  think  it  would,  and  it  would  be  '  coercion '  also  if  the  South 
Carolinians  were  forced  to  submit.  But  if  the  United  States  should 
merely  hold  and  retake  its  own  forts  and  other  property,  and  collect  the 
duties  on  foreign  importations,  or  even  withhold  the  mails  from  places 
where  they  were  habitually  violated,  would  any  or  all  of  these  things 
be  'invasion'  or  'coercion?'  Do  our  professed  lovers  of  the  Union, 
who  spitefully  resolve  that  they  will  resist  coercion  and  invasion,  under- 
stand that  such  things  as  these,  on  the  part  of  the  United  States,  would 
be  coercion  or  invasion  of  a  state  ?  If  so,  their  idea  of  means  to  pre- 
serve the  object  of  their  great  affection  would  seem  to  be  exceedingly 
thin  and  airy.  If  sick,  the  little  pills  of  the  homoeopathist  would  be 
much  too  large  for  it  to  swallow.  In  their  view,  the  Union,  as  a  family 
relation,  would  seem  to  be  no  regular  marriage,  but  rather  a  sort  of 
'free-love'  arrangement,  to  be  maintained  on  passional  attraction.  By 
the  way,  in  what  consists  the  special  sacredness  of  a  state  ?  I  speak 
not  of  the  position  assigned  to  a  state  in  the  Union  by  the  Constitution, 
for  that  is  the  bond  we  all  recognize.  That  position,  however,  a  state 
cannot  carry  out  of  the  Union  with  it.  I  speak  of  that  assumed  prima- 
ry right  of  a  state  to  rule  all  which  is  less  than  itself,  and  to  ruin  all 
which  is  larger  than  itself.  If  a  state  and  a  county,  in  a  given  case, 
should  be  equal  in  extent  of  territory  and  equal  in  number  of  inhabi- 
tants, in  what,  as  a  matter  of  principle,  is  the  state  better  than  the 
county?  Would  an  exchange  of  name  be  an  exchange  of  rights? 
Upon  what  principle,  upon  what  rightful  principle,  may  a  state,  being 
no  more  than  one-fiftieth  part  of  the  nation  in  soil  and  population, 
break  up  the  nation,  and  then  coerce  a  proportion  ably  larger  subdivis- 
ion of  itself  in  the  most  arbitrary  way  ?  What  mysterious  right  to 
play  tyrant  is  conferred  on  a  district  of  country  with  its  people,  by 
merely  calling  it  a  state  ?  Fellow-citizens,  I  am  not  asserting  any  thing. 
I  am  merely  asking  questions  for  you  to  consider.  And  now  allow  me 
to  bid  you  farewell." 


The  unwillingness  of  Mr.  Lincoln  to  speak  on  public  ques- 
tions at  this  time  is  evident  enough  from  these  remarks ;  but 
he  could  not  resist  the  inclination  to  expose  some  of  his  ideas, 
touch  in"1  certain  words  which  were  then  in  circulation,  and 

O  * 

they  undoubtedly  conveyed  hints  concerning  his  policy. 

On  the  following  day,  Mr.  Lincoln  and  his  party  started  by 
a  special  train  for  Cincinnati.  An  immense  crowd  assembled, 
and  cheered  them  as  they  moved  off.  The  train  was  composed 
of  four  passenger  cars,  the  third  and  fourth  of  which  were 
occupied  by  the  Cincinnati  committee  of  reception,  who  greeted 
Mr.  Lincoln  at  once — Judge  Este  on  behalf  of  the  citizens, 
and  Major  Dennis  J.  Yoohey  on  behalf  of  the  Board  of  Com- 
mon Council.  Mr.  Lincoln  responded  briefly.  The  first  stop 
was  at  Shelbyville,  where  Mr.  Lincoln  was  obliged  to  show 
himself  to  the  enthusiastic  assemblage,  though,  from  the  brev- 
ity of  the  stop,  he  could  say  nothing.  At  Greensburgh  and 
Lawrenceburgh  Mr.  Lincoln  made  brief  remarks  to  the 
crowds  that  had  assembled.  The  wisest  and  most  character- 
istic thing  that  he  uttered  at  the  latter  place  was  in  these 
words :  "  Let  me  tell  you  that  if  the  people  remain  right,  your 
public  men  can  never  betray  you.  If,  in  my  brief  term  of 
office,  I  shall  be  wicked  or  foolish,  if  you  remain  right  and 
true  and  honest  you  cannot  be  betrayed.  My  power  is  tem- 
porary and  fleeting — yours  as  eternal  as  the  principles  of  lib- 
erty. Cultivate  and  protect  that  sentiment,  and  your  ambi- 
tious leaders  will  be  reduced  to  the  position  of  servants." 

The  train  passed  by  the  burial  place  of  General  Harrison 
who  had  occupied  briefly  the  presidential  chair,  and  here  the 
family  of  the  deceased  patriot  were  assembled.  Mr.  Lincoln 
bowed  his  respects  to  the  group  and  to  the  memory  of  his 

The  twelfth  day  of  February  was  remarkably  sunny  and 
cheerful,  and  a  large  concourse  of  citizens  had  assembled  to 
give  Mr.  Lincoln  greeting  and  to  catch  a  glimpse  of  his  face. 
All  the  streets  leading  to  the  railroad  depot  were  thronged 
with  people ;  and  the  windows  and  roofs  and  every  perch  from 
which  a  lookout  could  be  obtained  were  occupied.  It  took  a 



large  force  of  military  and  police  to  keep  the  way  clear.  A 
distant  cannon  announced  the  approach  of  the  train,  and  then 
there  went  up  from  the  multitude  such  a  cheer  as  such  a  mul- 
titude alone  can  give.  After  some  difficulty  the  party  reached 
their  carriages,  and  then  the  crowd  went  wild  with  enthusi- 
asm, cheering  the  President  and  the  Union,  Mr.  Lincoln  rising 
in  the  carriage  with  uncovered  head,  and  acknowledging  the 
greetings  that  met  him  at  every  crossing.  Mr.  Lincoln's  car- 
riage was  drawn  by  six  white  horses,  and  was  surrounded  by 
a  detachment  of  police  to  keep  off  the  crowd.  Mayor  Bishop 
occupied  a  seat  by  his  side.  All  along  the  route  of  the  pro- 
cession houses  were  decorated  with  the  national  colors,  and 
various  devices  for  expressing  personal  and  patriotic  feeling. 
The  Court  House,  Custom  House,  Catholic  Institute,  city 
buildings,  newspaper  offices,  hotels,  &c.,  were  all  gaily  decor- 
ated. Banners,  transparencies  and  patriotic  emblems  and 
mottoes  were  everywhere.  At  the  Orphan  Asylum,  all  the 
children  came  out  and  sang  "  Hail  Columbia."  Some  inci- 
dents occurred  that  created  special  and  peculiar  interest,  and 
some  that  excited  no  little  amusement.  A  brawny  German 
took  a  little  girl  in  his  arms,  and -carried  her  to  the  carriage, 
when  she  modestly  presented  to  the  President  a  single  flow- 
er, which  compliment  he  acknowledged  by  stooping  and  kiss- 
ing the  child.  It  was  a  small  incident — a  very  pretty  in- 
cident— but  incidents  like  these  depend  for  their  effect  upon 
the  susceptibilities  of  the  observers ;  and  many  of  the  excited 
multitude  were  touched  to  tears.  One  German  devised  a 
characteristic  compliment.  He  took  a  seat  upon  a  huge  beer 
barrel,  and,  with  a  glass  of  its  contents  in  his  hand,  addressed 
the  President  thus :  "  God  be  with  you !  Enforce  the  laws 
and  save  our  country!  Here's  your  health!"  From  the 
depot  to  the  Burnet  House,  he  rode  through  a  dense  mass  of 
men,  Avomen  and  children,  who  took  every  mode  of  expressing 
their  enthusiastic  good  will.  It  would  have  been  impossible 
for  Cincinnati  to  do  more  to  receive  an  emperor  or  reward  a 

The  Burnet  House  was  reached  at  five  o'clock,  and  soon 


afterwards  Mr.  Lincoln  appeared  upon  the  balcony.  Mayor 
Bishop  introduced  him  to  the  people  and  gave  him  a  formal 
welcome  "in  the  name  of  the  people  of  all  classes."  Mr. 
Lincoln  then  replied: 

"Mr.  Mayor,  Ladies  and  Gentlemen:  Twenty-four  hours  ago,  at  the 
Capital  of  Indiana,  1  said  to  myself,  'I  have  never  seen  so  many  people 
assembled  together  in  winter  weather.'  I  am  no  longer  able  to  say  that. 
But  it  is  what  might  reasonably  have  teen  expected — that  this  great 
city  of  Cincinnati  would  thus  acquit  herself  on  such  an  occasion.  My 
friends,  I  am  entirely  overwhelmed  by  the  magnificence  of  the  reception 
which  has  been  given,  I  will  not  say  to  me,  but  to  the  President  elect 
of  the  United  States  of  America.  Most  heartily  do  I  thank  you  one 
and  all  for  it.  I  am  reminded  by  the  address  of  your  worthy  Mayor, 
that  this  reception  is  given  not  by  one  political  party;  and  even  if  1  had 
not  been  so  reminded  by  His  Honor,  I  could  not  have  failed  to  know 
the  fact  by  the  extent  of  the  multitude  I  see  before  me  now.  J  could 
not  look  upon  this  vast  assemblage  without  being  made  aware  that  all 
parties  were  united  in  this  reception.  This  is  as  it  should  be.  It  is  as 
it  should  have  been  if  Senator  Douglas  had  been  elected;  it  is  as  it 
should  have  been  if  Mr.  Bell  had  been  elected;  as  it  should  have  been 
if  "Mr.  Breckinridge  had  been  elected;  as  it  should  ever  be  when  any 
citizen  of  the  United  States  is  constitutionally  elected  President  of  the 
United  States.  Allow  me  to  say  that  I  think  what  has  occurred  here 
to-day  could  not  have  occurred  in  any  other  country  on  the  face  of  the 
globe,  Avithout  the  influence  of  the  free  institutions  which  we  have  un- 
ceasingly enjoyed  for  three-quarters  of  a  century.  There  is  no  country 
where  the  people  can  turn  out  and  enjoy  this  day  precisely  as  they 
please,  save  under  the  benign  influence  of  the  free  institutions  of  our 
laud.  I  hope  that,  although  we  have  some  threatening  national  difficul- 
ties now,  while  these  free  institutions  shall  continue  to  be  in  the  enjoy- 
ment of  millions  of  free  people  of  the  United  States,  we  will  see  re- 
peated every  four  years  what  we  now  witness.  In  a  few  short  years  I 
and  every  other  individual  man  who  is  now  living  will  pass  away.  I 
hope  that  our  national  difficulties  will  also  pass  away,  and  I  hope  we 
shall  ?ee  in  the  streets  of  Cincinnati — good  old  Cincinnati — for  centuries 
to  come,  once  every  four  years,  the  people  give  such  a  reception  as  this 
to  the  constitutionally  elected  President  of  the  whole  United  States. 
I  hope  you  will  all  join  in  that  reception,  and  that  yon  shall  also  welcome 
your  brethren  across  the  river  to  participate  in  it.  We  will  welcome 
them  in  every  state  in  the  Union,  no  matter  where  they  are  from.  From 
away  South,  we  shall  extend  to  them  a  cordial  good  will,  when  our  pres- 
ent differences  shall  have  been  forgotten  and  blown  to  the  winds  forever. 



"I  have  spoken  but  once  before  this  in  Cincinnati.  That  was  a  year 
previous  to  the  late  presidential  election.  On  that  occasion,  in  a  playful 
manner  but  with  sincere  words,  I  addressed  much  of  what  I  said  to  the 
Kentuckiaus.  I  gave  my  opinion  that  we  as  republicans  would  ulti- 
mately beat  them  as  democrats,  but  that  they  could  postpone  that  result 
longer  by  nominating  Senator  Douglas  for  the  presidency  than  they 
could  in  any  other  way.  They  did  not  in  the  true  sense  of  the  word 
nominate  Douglas,  and  the  result  has  come  certainly  as  soon  as  I  ex- 
pected. I  also  told  them  how  I  expected  they  would  be  treated  after 
they  should  have  been  beaten;  and  I  now  wish  to  call  or  recall  their 
attention  to  what  I  then  said  upon  that  subject.  1  then  said;  •  When 
we  do,  as  we  say,  beat  you.  you  perhaps  will  want  to  know  what  we 
will  do  with  you.  We  mean  to  treat  you  as  near  as  we  possibly  can  as 
Washington,  Jefferson  and  Madison  treated  you.  We  mean  to  leave 
you  alone  and  in  no  way  to  interfere  with  your  institutions,  to  abide  by 
all  and  every  compromise  of  the  Constitution;  and,  in  a  word,  coming 
back  to  the  original  proposition  to  treat  you  as  far  as  degenerate  men, 
if  we  have  degenerated,  may,  according  to  the  examples  of  those  noble 
fathers  Washington,  Jefferson  and  Madison.  We  mean  to  remember 
that  you  are  as  good  as  we — that  there  is  no  difference  between  us — 
other  than  the  difference  of  circumstances.  We  mean  to  recognize  and 
bear  in  mind  always  that  you  have  as  good  hearts  in  your  bosoms  as 
other  people,  or  as  good  as  we  claim  to  have,  and  treat  you  accordingly.'" 

"Fellow-citizens  of  Kentucky,  Friends,  Brethren:  May  I  call  you 
such?  In  my  new  position  I  see  no  occasion  and  feel  no  inclination  to 
retract  a  word  of  this.  If  it  shall  not  be  made  good,  be  assured  that 
the  fault  shall  not  be  mine." 

This  little  speech,  remarkable  for  nothing  so  much  as  its 
thoroughly  friendly  feeling  toward  all  classes  and  men  of  all 
opinions,  was  received  with  warm  approval.  Subsequently 
he  was  called  upon  by  a  procession  of  two  thousand  Germans, 
who,  in  their  formal  address,  indicated  a  desire  for  some  utter- 
ance touching  his  public  policy.  In  his  response,  Mr.  Lincoln 
begged  to  be  excused  from  entering  upon  such  an  exposition. 
"I  deem  it  due  to  myself  and  the  whole  country,"  said  Mr. 
Lincoln,  "in  the  present  extraordinary  condition  of  the  country 
and  of  public  opinion,  that  I  should  wait  and  see  the  last  de- 
velopment of  public  opinion  before  I  give  my  views,  or  ex- 
press myself  at  the  time  of  the  inauguration.  I  hope  at  that 
time  to  be  false  to  nothing  you  have  been  taught  to  expect  of 


On  the  morning  of  the  thirteenth,  the  party  started  for 
Columbus,  the  capital  of  Ohio.  The  scenes  of  the  previous 
day  were  repeated  on  the  route,  in  the  gathering  of  large 
crowds  at  all  the  intermediate  stations.  The  reception  in  Co- 
lumbus had  been  a  fortnight  in  preparation,  the  legislature 
taking  the  initiative.  At  noon,  on  the  thirteenth,  it  was  cal- 
culated that  five  thousand  strangers  were  in  the  city.  As  the 
time  approached  for  the  arrival  of  the  train,  the  crowd  around 
the  depot  became  almost  overwhelming.  A  thirty-four-gun 
salute  announced  the  coming  train,  and  as  it  drove  slowly  into 
the  depot,  the  crowd  called  upon  the  President  elect  to  show 
himself.  He  stepped  out  upon  the  platform  of  the  rear  car, 
and  with  head  uncovered  bowed  his  acknowledgments  to  the 
hearty  greeting  he  received.  On  alighting  and  entering  a 

*/        O  O  *—  O  O 

carriage  for  the  passage  to  the  State  House,  the  scenes  at 
Cincinnati  were  re-enacted.  Streets  were  full  of  people,  the 
air  was  ringing  with  shouts  and  huzzas,  and  the  same  kind 
sun  smiled  upon  all.  He  \vas  received  in  the  hall  of  the 
House  of  Representatives,  and  Governor  Dennison  introduced 
him  to  the  Legislature.  The  President  of  the  Senate  responded 
in  a  speech  of  welcome  which  so  concisely  and  happily  con- 
veyed the  feelings  of  the  people  at  that  time,  and  so  justly 
measured  the  nature  and  importance  of  the  crisis,  that  it  de- 
serves record.  He  addressed  Mr.  Lincoln  in  the  following 
words : 

"Sir:  On  this  day,  and  probably  tin's  very  hour,  the  Congress  of 
the  United  States  will  declare  the  verdict  of  the  people,  making  you 
their  President.  Jt  is  my  pleasurable  duty,  in  behalf  of  the  people  of 
Oiiio,  i ppeaking  through  this  General  Assembly,  to  welcome  yon  to  their 
Capital.  .Never  in  the  history  of  this  Government  has  such  fearful  re- 
sponsibility rested  upon  the  Chief  Executive  of  the  nation  as  will  now 
devolve  upon  you.  Never  since  the  memorable  tune  our  patriotic  fa- 
thers gave  existence  to  the  American  Republic,  have  the  people  looked 
with  such  intensity  of  feeling  to  the  inauguration  and  future  policy  of 
a  President,  as  they  do  to  yours.  1  need  not  nssure  you  that  the  people 
of  Ohio  have  full  confidence  <n  your  ability  and  patriotism,  and  will  re- 
spond to  you  in  their  loyalty  to  the  Union  and  the  Constitution.  It 
would  seem,  sir,  that  the  great  problem  of  self-government  is  to  be 
solved  under  your  administration.  All  nations  are  deeply  interested  in 


its  solution,  and  they  wait  with  breathless  anxiety  to  know  whether 
this  form  of  government,  which  has  been  the  admiration  of  the  world, 
is  to  be  a  failure  or  not.  It  is  the  earnest  and  united  prayer  of  our 
people,  that  the  same  kind  Providence  which  protected  us  in  our  colonial 
struggles,  and  has  attended  us  thus  far  in  our  prosperity  and  greatness, 
•will  so  imbue  your  mind  with  wisdom,  that  you  may  dispel  the  dark 
clouds  that  hang  over  our  political  horizon,  and  thereby  secure  the  re- 
turn of  harmony  and  fraternal  feeling  to  our  now  distracted  and  un- 
happy country.  Again  I  bid  you  a  cordial  welcome  to  our  Capital." 

To  this  noble  greeting  Mr.  Lincoln  responded  as  follows: 

"Gentlemen  of  the  Senate,  and  Citizens  of  Ohio:  It  is  true,  as  has 
been  said  by  the  President  of  the  Senate,  that  very  great  responsibility 
rests  upon  me  in  the  position  to  which  the  votes  of  the  American  people 
have  called  me.  I  am  deeply  sensible  of  that  weighty  responsibility. 
I  cannot  but  know,  what  you  all  know,  that  without  a  name — perhaps 
without  a  reason  why  I  should  have  a  name — there  has  fallen  upon  me 
a  task  such  as  did  not  rest  upon  the  Father  of  his  Country.  And  so 
feeling,  I  cannot  but  turn  and  look  for  the  support  without  which  it  will 
be  impossible  for  me  to  perform  that  great  task.  I  turn,  then,  and  look 
to  the  American  people,  and  to  that  God  who  has  never  forsaken  them. 

"  Allusion  has  been  made  to  the  interest  felt  in  relation  to  the  policy 
of  the  new  administration.  In  this  1  have  received  from  some  a  degree 
of  credit  for  having  kept  silence,  from  others  some  depreciation.  I  still 
think  1  was  right.  In  the  varying  and  repeatedly  shifting  scenes  of  the 
present,  without  a  precedent  which  could  enable  me  to  judge  from  the 
past,  it  has  seemed  fitting  that  before  speaking  upon  the  difficulties  of 
the  country  I  should  have  gained  a  view  of  the  whole  field.  To  be 
sure,  after  all,  1  would  be  at  liberty  to  modify  and  change  tlie  course  of 
policy,  as  future  events  might  make  a  change  necessary 

"1  have  not  maintained  silence  from  any  want  of  real  anxiety  It  is 
a  good  thine  that  there  is  no  more  than  anxiety,  for  there  is  nothing 
going  wrong  It  i*  a  consoling  circumstance  that  when  we  look  out 
there  is  nothing  that  really  hurts  anybody  We  entertain  different 
views  upon  political  questions,  but  nobody  is  suffering  anything.  This 
is  a  most  consoling  circumstance,  and  from  it  I  judge  that  all  we  want 
is  time  and  patience,  and  a  reliance  on  that  God  who  has  never  forsaken 
this  people." 

The  reporter  for  the  Ohio  State  Journal,  describing  the  in- 
cidents of  the  day,  says  that  the  impression  produced  by  the 
President  elect  was  most  agreeable.  "His  great  hight,"  he 

O  c.  *-• 

continues,  "was  conspicuous,  even  in  that  crowd  of  goodly 


men,  and  lifted  him  fully  in  view  as  he  walked  up  the  aisle. 
When  he  took  the  speaker's  stand,  a  better,  opportunity  was 
afforded  to  look  at  the  man  upon  whom  more  hopes  hang  than 
upon  any  other  living.  At  first,  the  kindness  and  amiability 
of  his  face  strikes  you;  but  as  he  speaks,  the  greatness  and 
determination  of  his  nature  are  apparent.  Something  in  his 
manner,  even  more  than  in  his  words,  told  how  deeply  he  was 
affected  by  the  enthusiasm  of  the  people ;  and  when  he  ap- 
pealed to  them  for  encouragement  and  support,  every  heart 
responded  with  mute  assurance  of  both.  There  was  the  sim- 
plicity of  greatness  in  his  unassuming  and  -confiding  manner, 
that  won  its  way  to  instant  admiration*  He  looked  somewhat 
worn  with  travel  and  the  fatigues  of  popularity,  but  warmed 
to  the  cordiality  of  his  reception." 

After  the  conclusion  of  the  formalities  in  the  hall,  Mr.  Lin- 
coln went  to  the  western  steps  of  the  Capitol,  to  say  a  word 
to  the  people.  The  address  he  made  here  consisted  simply 
of  commonplaces  and  phrases  that  had  already  become  hack- 
neyed. The  hand-shaking  that  succeeded  was  something 
fearful.  Every  man  in  the  crowd  was  anxious  to  wrench  the 
hand  of  Abraham  Lincoln.  He  finally  gave  both  hands  to 
the  work,  with  great  good  nature.  To  quote  one  of  the  re- 
ports of  the  occasion:  "people  plunged  at  his  arms  with  frantic 
enthusiasm,  and  all  the  infinite  variety  of  shakes,  from  the  wild 
and  irrepressible  pump-handle  movement,  to  the  dead  grip,  was 
executed  upon  the  devoted  dexter  and  sinister  of  the  President. 
Some  glanced  at  his  face  as  they  grasped  his. hand;  others  in- 
voked the  blessings  of  Heaven  upon  him ;  others  affectionately 
gave  him  their  last  gasping  assurance  of  devotion;  others, 
bewildered  and  furious,  with  hats  crushed  over  their  eyes, 
seized  his  hands  in  a  convulsive  grasp,  and  passed  on  as 
if  they  had  not  the  remotest  idea  who,  what,  or  where  they 
were."  The  President  at  last  escaped,  and  took  refuge  in  the 
Governor's  residence,  although  he  held  a  levee  at  the  State 
House  in  the  evening,  where,  in  a  more  quiet  way,  he  met 
many  prominent  citizens. 

On  the  fourteenth,  the  presidential  party  left  Columbus,  for 


Pittsburgh.  The  morning  was  rainy,  but  large  numbers  wit- 
nessed the  departure  of  the  train,  and  assembled  at  the  sta- 
tions along  the  route.  At  Steubenville,  about  five  thousand 
people  had  assembled,  and  these  Mr.  Lincoln  briefly  addressed. 
The  rain  interfered  very  materially  with  the  proposed  recep- 
tion at  Pittsburgh,  as  did  also  the  darkness,  for  it  was  night 
when  the  party  arrived.  At  the  Monongahela  House,  Mr. 
Lincoln  addressed  a  large  concourse  of  people  in  a  few 
words  of  acknowledgment,  and  deferred  his  more  formal  re- 
marks until  the  morning  of  the  fifteenth.  These  latter  were 
not  charged  with  particular  interest.  They  were  rather  an 
apology  for  not  speaking  at  all,  upon  the  great  subject  of 
which  all  wished  to  hear,  than  any  exposition  of  opinion  or 
policy  upon  any  subject.  A  single  paragraph  showed  that  he 
still  deemed  a  peaceful  solution  of  the  national  difficulties 
possible : 

"  Notwithstanding  the  troubles  across  the  river,  there  is  really  no  crisis 
springing  from  anything  in  the  Government  itself.  In  plain  words, 
there  is  really  no  crisis  except  an  artificial  one.  What  is  there  now  to 
warrant  the  condition  of  affairs  presented  by  our  friends  'over  the  riv- 
er?' Take  even  their  own  view  of  the  questions  involved,  and  there  is 
nothing  to  justify  the  course  wjiich  they  are  pursuing.  I  repeat  it, 
then,  there  is  no  crisis,  except  such  a  one  as-  may  be  gotten  up  at  any 
time  by  turbulent  men,  aided  by  designing  politicians.  My  advice, 
then,  under  such  circumstances,  is  to  keep  cool.  If  the  great  American 
people  will  only  keep  their  temper  on  both  sides  of  the  line,  the  trouble 
will  come  to  an  end,  and  the  question  which  now  distracts  the  country 
will  be  settled  just  as  surely  as  all  other  difficulties  of  like  character 
which  have  originated  in  this  Government  have  been  adjusted.  Let  the 
people  on  both  sides  keep  their  self-possession,  and  just  as  other  clouds 
have  cleared  away  in  due  time,  so  will  this,  and  this  great  nation  shall 
continue  to  prosper  as  heretofore." 

The  next  place  at  which  he  was  to  be  received  was  Cleve- 
land, Ohio ;  and  the  party  set  out  for  this  beautiful  city  in  a 
hard  shower  of  rain,  that  had  not  the  power  to  dampen  the 
enthusiasm  of  the  Pittsburgh  people  who  cheered  their  de- 
parting guests  with  great  heartiness.  There  were  the  usual 
incidents  along  the  road,  and  at  four  o'clock  the  train  arrived 


at  the  Euclid  Street  Station  of  the  Cleveland  and  Pittsburo-h 


Railroad,  where  a  very  large  escort  waited  to  conduct  Mr. 
Lincoln  to  the  Weddell  House.  The  President  took  his  seat 
in  a  carnage  drawn  by  four  white  horses.  Notwithstanding 
the  unpleasantness  of  the  weather,  Euclid  Street  was  crowded 
from  one  end  to  the  other,  with  persons  who  acted  almost  like 
wild  men,  in  their  anxiety  to  catch  a  glimpse  of  the  President. 
Mr.  I.  U.  Masters,  the  President  of  the  City  Council,  made  a 
formal  speech  of  welcome,  and  was  followed  by  Hon.  Sherlock 
G.  Andrews,  who  welcomed  the  guest  of 'the  occasion  on  be- 
half of  the  citizens'  committee.  Here,  in  his  response,  Mr. 
Lincoln  repeated  the  substance  of  the  remarks  he  made  at 
Pittsburgh  about  the  artificial  nature  of  the  crisis  that  was 
upon  the  country.  "It  was  not  argued  up,"  he  said,  "and 
cannot,  therefore,  be  argued  down.  Let  it  alone  and  it  will 
go  down  of  itself."  In  these  remarks,  and  in  all  like  these, 
he  must  have  taken  counsel  of  his  hopes  rather  than  his  con- 
victions ;  for  in  the  same  speech,  while  alluding  to  the  grate- 
ful fact  that  his  reception  was  by  the  citizens  generally,  with- 
out distinction  of  party,  he  said :  "  If  all  don't  join  now  to  save 
the  good  old  ship  of  the  Union  this  voyage,  nobody  will  have 
a  chance  to  pilot  her  on  another  voyage."  There  was  a  gen- 
eral reception  and  hand-shaking  in  the  evening,  and  after  the 
distinguished  guest  had  become  too  tired  for  further  honors, 
he  was  permitted  to  retire  for  the  night. 

Early  the  next  morning  the  party  took  their  leave,  but  they 
found  many  up  and  ready  to  get  a  parting  glance  of  Mr. 
Lincoln,  who,  taking  his  seat  in  the  rear  car,  appeared  upon 
the  platform  as  the  train  moved  out  of  the  depot,  and  bowed 
his  farewell  to  the  people  who  had  so  generously  and  cordially 
received  him.  His  next  public  reception  was  at  Buffalo, 
where  he  arrived  late  in  the  afternoon  of  the  sixteenth,  having 
received  all  along  the  route  those  testimonials  of  interest  which 
had  come  to  be  as  wearisome  at  last,  as  they  were  grateful  at 
the  first.  On  the  arrival  of  the  train  at  Buffalo,  Mr.  Lincoln 
was  met  by  a  very  large  concourse  of  citizens,  with  Ex-P resi- 
dent Fillmore  at  their  head.  After  beinp;  conducted  to  his 


hotel,  the  acting  mayor  gave  him  a  formal  welcome,  to  which 
Mr.  Lincoln  responded  with  hearty  thanks,  and  such  phrases 
of  apology  for  not  saying  anything  as  had  already  become 
threadbare,  and  with  his  often  repeated  promise  to  say  what 
the  people  wished  to  hear,  when  he  should  be  called  upon  to 
do  it  officially. 

From  Buffalo,  Mr.  Lincoln  and  his  party  proceeded  to  Al- 
bany, receiving  many  demonstrations  of  respect  from  the 
beautiful  cities  along  the  route  of  three  hundred  miles.  At 
Albany  he  was  welcomed  by  Governor  Morgan,  to  whom  he 
made  a  brief  response ;  and  then  he  was  conducted  into  the 
presence  of  the  legislature,  where  he  had  another  formal  re- 
ception. To  the  speech  addressed  to  him  here,  he  made  an 
unusually  graceful  and  feeling  response.  He  said : 

"It  is  with  feelings  of  great  diffidence,  and,  I  may  say,  feelings  even 
of  awe,  perhaps  greater  than  I  have  recently  experienced,  that  1  meet 
you  here  in  this  place.  The  history  of  this  great  state,  the  renown  of 
its  great  men,  who  have  stood  in  this  chamber,  and  have  spoken  their 
thoughts,  all  crowd  around  my  fancy,  and  incline  me  to  shrink  from  an 
attempt  to  address  you.  Yet  I  have  some  confidence  given  me  by  the 
generous  manner  in  which  you  have  invited  me,  and  the  stili  more  gen- 
erous manner  in  which  you  have  received  ine.  You  have  invited  me 
and  received  me  without  distinction  of  party.  I  could  not  for  a  moment 
suppose  that  this  has  been  done  in  any  considerable  degree  with  any 
reference  to  my  personal  self.  It  is  very  much  more  grateful  to  me 
that  this  reception  and  the  invitation  preceding  it  were  given  to  me  as 
the  representative  of  a  free  people  than  it  could  possibly  have  been 
were  they  but  the  evidence  of  devotion  to  me  or  to  any  one  man. 

"It  is  true  that,  while  I  hold  myself,  without  mock-modesty,  the  hum- 
blest of  all  the  individuals  who  have  ever  been  elected  President  of  the 
United  States,  I  yet  have  a  more  difficult  task  to  perform  than  any  one 
of  them  has  ever  encountered.  You  have  here  generously  tendered  me 
the  support,  the  united  support,  of  the  great  Empire  State.  For  this, 
in"  behalf  of  the  nation — in  behalf  of  the  present  and  of  the  future  of 
the  nation — in  behalf  of  the  cause  of  civil  liberty  in  all  time  to  come — 
I  most  gratefully  thank  you.  I  do  not  propose  now  to  enter  upon  any 
expressions  as  to  the  particular  line  of  policy  to  be  adopted  with  refer- 
ence to  the  difficulties  that  stand  before  us,  in  the  opening  of  the  incom- 
ing administration.  I  deem  that  it  is  just  to  the  country,  to  myself,  to 
you,  that  I  should  see  everything,  hear  everything,  and  have  every  light 


that  can  possibly  be  brought  within  my  reach  to  aid  me  before  I  shall 
speak  officially,  in  order  that,  when  I  do  speak,  I  may  have  the  best 
possible  means  of  taking  correct  and  true  grounds.  For  this  reason,  I 
do  not  now  announce  anything  in  the  way  of  policy  for  the  new  admin- 
istration. When  the  time  comes,  according  to  the  custom  of  the  gov- 
ernment, I  shall  speak,  and  speak  as  well  as  I  am  able  for  the  good  of 
the  present  and  of  the  future  of  this  country — for  the  good  of  the  North 
and  of  the  South — for  the  good  of  one  and  of  the  other,  and  of  all  sec- 
tions of  it.  In  the  meantime,  if  we  have  patience,  if  we  maintain  our 
equanimity,  though  some  may  allow  themselves  to  run  off  in  a  burst  of 
passion,  I  still  have  confidence  that  the  Almighty  Ruler  of  the  universe, 
through  the  instrumentality  of  this  great  and  intelligent  people,  can 
and  will  bring  us  through  this  difficulty,  as  he  has  heretofore  brought 
us  through  all  preceding  difficulties  of  the  country.  Relying  upon  this, 
and  again  thanking  you,  as  I  forever  shall,  in  my  heart,  for  this  gener- 
ous reception  you  have  given  me,  I  bid  you  farewell.*' 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  met  at  Albany  by  a  delegation  of  the  city 
government  of  New  York,  and  started  on  the  nineteenth  for 
the  great  metropolis.  He  was  not  permitted  to  pass  by 
Poughkeepsie  without  a  formal  welcome  from  the  mayor  of 
that  city,  to  which  he  made  a  formal  response.  In  this  little 
speech  there  is  a  manifest  improvement  upon  the  earlier  efforts 
of  the  route.  Mr.  Lincoln  had  found  that  there  were  things 
to  talk  about  besides  policy,  and  that  it  was  better  to  yield 
himself  up  to  the  impulse  of  the  moment  than  to  be  under 
the  constant  fear  of  saying  some  imprudent  thing,  concerning 
the  character  of  the  crisis  and  the  policy  of  the  incoming  ad- 

The  reception  at  the  city  of  New  York  was  such  as  only 
New  York  can  give.  Places  of  business  were  generally  closed, 
and  the  streets  presented  such  crowds  as  only  a  city  number- 
ing a  million  of  people  can  produce.  Here  he  was  formally 
received  by  Fernando  AVood,  then  mayor  of  the  city,  to  whose 
welcome  he  made  the  following  response : 

"Mr.  Mayor: — It  is  with  feelings  of  deep  gratitude  that  I  make  my 
acknowledgments  for  the  reception  given  me  in  the  great  commercial 
city  of  New  York.  I  cannot  but  remember  that  this  is  done  by  a  peo- 
ple who  do  not,  by  a  majority,  agree  with  me  in  political  sentiment.  It 
is  the  more  grateful,  because  in  this  I  see  that,  for  the  great  principles 


of  our  Government,  the  people  are  almost  unanimous.  In  regard  to 
the  difficulties  that  confront  us  at  this  time,  and  of  which  your  Honor 
has  thought  fit  to  speak  so  becomingly  and  so  justly,  as  I  suppose,  I 
can  only  say  that  I  agree  in  the  sentiments  expressed.  In  my  devotion 
to  the  Union,  I  hope  I  am  behind  uo  man  in  the  nation.  In  the  wisdom, 
with  which  to  conduct  the  affairs  tending  to  the  preservation  of  the 
Union,  I  fear  that  too  great  confidence  may  have  been  reposed  in  me; 
but  I  am  sure  that  I  bring  a  heart  devoted  to  the  work.  There  is  noth- 
ing that  could  ever  bring  me  to  willingly  consent  to  the  destruction  of 
this  Union,  under  which  uot  only  the  great  commercial  city  of  New- 
York,  but  the  whole  country,  acquired  its  greatness,  except  it  be  the 
purpose  for  which  the  Union  itself  was  formed.  I  understand  the  ship 
to  be  made  for  the  carrying  and  the  preservation  of  the  cargo,  and  so 
long  as  the  ship  can  be  saved  with  the  cargo,  it  should  never  be  aban- 
doned, unless  there  appears  no  possibility  of  its  preservation,  and  it 
must  cease  to  exist,  except  at  the  risk  of  throwing  overboard  both 
freight  and  passengers.  So  long,  then,  as  it  is  possible  that  the  pros- 
perity and  the  liberties  of  the  people  be  preserved  in  this  Union,  it  shall 
be  my  purpose  at  all  times  to  use  all  iny  powers  to  aid  in  its  perpetua- 

On  the  twentieth,  Mr.  Lincoln  left  New  York  for  Philadel- 
phia, visiting  on  the  way  both  Houses  of  the  New  Jersey  Leg- 
islature at  Trenton.  From  the  speech  made  before  the  Senate 
on  this  occasion,  a  quotation  has  been  made  in  this  volume, 
and  the  entire  passage  is  worthy  of  record: 

"I  cannot  but  remember  the  place  that  New  Jersey  holds  in  our  early 
history.  In  the  early  Revolutionary  struggle,  few  of  the  states  among 
the  old  thirteen  had  more  of  the  battle-fields  of  the  country  within  its 
limits  than  old  New  Jersey.  May  I  be  pardoned,  if,  upon  this  occasion, 
I  mention,  that  away  back  in  niy  childhood,  the  earliest  days  of  my  be- 
ing able  to  read,  I  got  hold  of  a  small  book,  such  a  one  as  few  of  the 
younger  members  have  ever  seen,  'Wecms*  Life  of  Washington.'  I 
remember  all  tlie  accounts  there  given  of  the  battle-fields  and  struggles 
for  the  liberties  of  the  country,  and  none  fixed  themselves  upon  my  im- 
agination so  deeply  as  the  struggle  here  at  Trenton,  New  Jersey.  The 
crossing  of  the  river — the  contest  with  the  Hessians — the  great  hard- 
ships endured  at  that  time — all  fixed  themselves  on  my  memory  more 
than  any  single  revolutionary  event;  and  you  all  know,  for  you  have  all 
been  boys,  how  these  early  impressions  last  longer  than  any  others.  I 
recollect  thinking  then,  boy  even  though  I  was,  that  there  must  have 
been  something  more  than  common  that  those  men  struggled  for.  I 
am  exceedingly  anxious  that  that  thing  which  they  struggled  for — that 


something  even  more  than  National  Independence — that  something  that 
held  out  a  great  promise  to  all  the  people  of -the  world  to  all  time  to 
come — 1  am  exceedingly  anxious  that  this  Union,  the  Constitution,  and 
the  liberties  of  the  people,  shall  be  perpetuated  in  accordance  with  the 
original  idea  for  which  that  struggle  was  made,  and  I  shall  be  most 
happy  indeed  if  I  shall  be  an  'humble  instrument  in  the  hands  of  the 
Almighty,  and  of  this,  his  almost  chosen  people,  for  perpetuating  the 
object  of  that  great  struggle." 

At  Philadelphia  Mr.  Lincoln  was  received  with  great  en- 
thusiasm, and  many  demonstrations  of  popular  regard.  His 
formal  welcome  was  given  by  the  mayor  of  the  city,  but  there 
was  nothing  in  his  response  that  calls  for  reproduction,  except 
a  single  passage  in  which  he  hints  at  the  possibility  that  he 
may  never  be  permitted  to  take  the  presidential  chair.  Al- 
luding to  the  popular  desire  to  learn  something  definite  con- 
cerning his  policy,  he  said,  "  It  were  useless  for  me  to  speak 
of  details  of  plans  now ;  I  shall  speak  officially  next  Monday 
week,  if  ever.  If  I  should  not  speak  then,  it  were  useless  for 
me  to  do  so  now." 

He  had  been  aware,  ever  since  he  left  Springfield,  that  men 
were  seeking  for  his  life.  An  attempt  was  made  to  throw  the 
train  off  the  track  that  bore  him  out  of  Springfield;  and  at 
Cincinnati  a  hand  grenade  was  found  concealed  upon  the  train. 
The  fear  excited  by  these  hostile  demonstrations  was  an  in- 
definite one,  but  on  his  arrival  at  Philadelphia  the  plot  was  all 
unfolded  to  him. 

Before  Mr.  Lincoln  left  home  it  was  whispered  about  that 
he  would  never  be  permitted  to  pass  through  Baltimore  alive ; 
and  a  detective  of  great  experience  and  skill  was  put  to  the 
task  of  ferreting  out  the  conspiracy.  He  employed  both  men 
and  women  to  assist  him,  and  found  that  a  conspiracy  was  in- 
deed in  existence,  with  an  Italian  refugee,  a  barber,  at  the 
head  of  it,  who,  assuming  tlie  name  of  "  Orsini,"  indicated 
the  part  he  expected  to  play  in  the  plot.* 

It  was  arranged,  in  case  Mr.  Lincoln  should  reach  Balti- 
more safely,  that,  on  a  given  signal,  he  should  be  shot  by  those 

*For  all  the  particulars  of  this  attempt  upon  Mr.  Lincoln's  life  the 
author  is  indebted  to  an  article  in  the  Albany  Evening  Journal. 


who  should  gather  in  the  guise  of  friends  around  his  carriage, 
and  that  hand  grenades  should  complete  the  work  of  destruc- 
tion which  the  pistol  had  commenced.  In  the  confusion  thus 
produced,  the  guilty  parties  proposed  to  escape  to  a  vessel  in 
waiting,  which  would  convey  them  to  Mobile. 

The  detective  and  Mr.  Lincoln  reached  Philadelphia  nearly 
at  the  same  time,  and  there  the  former  submitted  to  a  few  of 
the  President's  friends  the  information  he  had  secured.  An 
interview  between  Mr.  Lincoln  and  the  detective  was  immedi- 
ately arranged,  which  took  place  in  the  apartments  of  the 
former  at  ths  Continental  Hotel.  Mr.  Lincoln  having  heard 


the  officer's  statement  in  detail,  then  informed  him  that  he  had 
promised  to  raise  the  American  flag  on  Independence  Hall  the 
following  morning — the  morning  of  the  anniversary  of  Wash- 
ington's birthday — and  that  he  had  accepted  an  invitation  to 
a  reception  by  the  Pennsylvania  legislature  in  the  afternoon 
of  the  same  day.  "Both  of  these  engagements  I  will  keep," 
said  Mr.  Lincoln,  "if  it  costs  me  my  life."  For  the  rest,  he 
authorized  the  detective  to  make  such  arrangements  as  he 
thought  proper  for  his  safe  conduct  to  Washington. 

In  the  meantime,  General  Scott  and  Senator  Seward,  both 
of  whom  were  in  Washington,  learned  from  independent 
sources  that  Mr.  Lincoln's  life  was  in  danger,  and  concurred 
in  sending  Mr.  Frederick  W.  Seward  to  Philadelphia,  to  urge 
upon  him  the  necessity  of  proceeding  immediately  to  Wash- 
ington in  a  quiet  way.  The  messenger  arrived  late  on  Thurs- 
day night,  after  Mr.  Lincoln  had  retired,  and  requested  an 
audience.  Mr.  Lincoln's  fears  had  already  been  aroused,  and 
he  was  cautious,  of  course,  in  the  matter  of  receiving  a  stran- 
ger. But  satisfied  that  the  messenger  was  indeed  the  son  of 
Mr.  Seward,  he  gave  him  audience.  Nothing  needed  to  be 
done,  but  to  inform  him  of  the  plan  entered  into  with  the  de- 
tective by  which  the  President  was  to  arrive  in  Washington 
early  on  Saturday  morning,  in  advance  of  his  family  and  party. 
This  information  was  conveyed  to  Mr.  Washburne  of  Illirtbis, 
among  others,  on  Mr.  Seward's  return  to  Washington ;  and  he 
was  deputed  to  receive  Mr.  Lincoln  at  the  depot  on  his  arrival. 


Such  were  the  exciting  events  and  disclosures  of  the  day 
and  night  preceding  Mr.  Lincoln's  appearance  at  Independ- 
ence Hall,  where  he  was  formally  received,  and  where  he 
made  the  following  address,  one  passage  of  which  bears  the 
burden  of  his  apprehension: 

"I  am  filled  with  deep  emotion  at  finding  myself  standing  here,  in 
this  place,  where  were  collected  the  wisdom,  the  patriotism,  the  devo- 
tion to  principle,  from  which  sprang  the  institutions  under  which  we 
live.  You  have  kindly  suggested  to  me  that  in  my  hands  is  the  task  of 
restoring  peace  to  the  present  distracted  condition  of  the  country.  I 
can  say  in  return,  sir,  that  all  the  political  sentiments  I  entertain  have 
been  drawn,  so  far  as  I  have  Been  able  to  draw  them,  from  the  senti- 
ments which  originated  and  were  given  to  the  world  from  this  hall.  I 
have  never  had  a  feeling,  politically,  that  did  not  spring  from  the  senti- 
ments embodied  in  the  Declaration  of  Independence.  I  have  often 
pondered  over  the  dangers  which  were  incurred  by  the  men  who  assem- 
bled here,  and  framed  and  adopted  that  Declaration  of  Independence. 
I  have  pondered  over  the  toils  that  were  endured  by  the  officers  and 
soldiers  of  the  army  who  achieved  that  independence.  I  have  often  in- 
quired of  myself  what  great  principle  or  idea  it  was  that  kept  this 
Confederacy  so  long  together.  It  was  not  the  mere  matter  of  the  sep- 
aration of  the  colonies  from  the  mother-land,  but  that  sentiment  in  the 
Declaration  of  Independence  which  gave  liberty,  not  alone  to  the  people 
of  this  country,  but,  I  hope,  to  the  world  for  all  future  time.  It  was 
that  which  gave  promise  that  in  due  time  the  weight  would  be  lifted 
from  the  shoulders  of  all  men.  This  is  a  sentiment  embodied  in  the 
Declaration  of  Independence.  Now,  my  friends,  can  this  country  be 
saved  upon  this  basis?  If  it  can,  I  will  consider  myself  one  of  the  hap- 
piest men  in  the  world  if  I  can  help  to  save  it.  If  it  cannot  be  saved 
upon  that  principle,  it  will  be  truly  awful.  But  if  this  country  cannot 
be  saved  without  giving  up  that  principle,  I  was  about  to  say  I  would 
rather  be  assassinated  on  this  spot  than  surrender  it.  Now,  in  my  view 
of  the  present  aspect  of  affairs,  there  need  be  no  bloodshed  or  Avar. 
There  is  no  necessity  for  it.  I  am  not  in  favor  of  such  a  course;. and  I 
may  say,  in  advance,  that  there  will  be  no  bloodshed  unless  it  be  forced 
upon  the  Government,  and  then  it  will  be  compelled  to  act  hi  self-de- 

At  the  conclusion  of  this  speech,  Mr.  Lincoln  was  conducted 
to  a  platform  outside,  where  he  was  publicly  invited  to  raise 
the  new  flag.  In  responding  to  this  invitation,  he  addressed 
a  few  words  to  the  people,  and  then  ran  the  flag  up  to  the  top 


of  the  staff,  amid  the  cheers  of  a  vast  concourse  of  people. 
The  ceremony  was  alike  impressive  to  the  principal  actor  and 
the  multitude  of  observers.  The  great  battles  of  Mr.  Lin- 
coln's life  had  been  done  for  the  principles  of  the  Declaration 
of  Independence.  It  was  because  he  represented  those  princi- 
ples, distinctively,  that  he  had  been  elected  to  the  presidency, 
that  the  slave-power  was  in  active  revolt,  and  that  the  friends 
of  slavery  were  seeking  for  his  life.  It  was  certainly  a  re- 
markable occasion  when  he  stood  within  the  room  where  the 
Declaration  was  framed  and  signed,  and  pledged  himself  anew 
to  its  truths  and  principles,  and  then  walked  out  into  the  pres- 
ence of  the  people  and  ran  up  to  its  home  the  beautiful  na- 
tional ensign  prepared  for  his  hands. 

At  the  conclusion  of  these  ceremonies,  Mr.  Lincoln  and  his 
party  left  the  city  for  Harrisburg,  the  capital  of  the  state, 
where,  in  accordance  with  his  promise,  he  visited  both  branches 
of  the  Pennsylvania  legislature.  The  following  were  the  more 
important  passages  in  his  response  to  the  address  of  welcome : 

"I  thank  you  most  sincerely  for  this  reception,  and  the  generous  words 
in  which  support  has  been  promised  nie  upon  this  occasion.  I  thank 
your  great  Commonwealth  for  the  overwhelming  support  it  recently 
gave,  not  to  me  personally,  but  the  cause,  which  I  think  a  just  one,  in 
the  late  election.  Allusion  has  been  made  to  the  fact — the  interesting 
fact,  perhaps  we  should  say — that  I,  for  the  first  time,  appear  at  the 
capital  of  the  great  Commonwealth  of  Pennsylvania  upon  the  birthday 
of  the  Father  of  his  Country,  in  connection  with  that  beloved  anniver- 
sary connected  with  the  history  of  this  country.  I  have  already  gone 
through  one  exceedingly  interesting  scene  this  morning  in  the  ceremo- 
nies at  Philadelphia.  Under  the  high  conduct  of  gentlemen  there,  I 
was,  for  the  first  time,  allowed  the  privilege  of  standing  in  Old  Inde- 
pendence Hall,  to  have  a  few  words  addressed  to  me  there,  and  opening 
up  an*  opportunity  of  saying,  with  much  regret,  that  I  had  not  more 
time  to  express  something  of  my  own  feelings,  excited  by  the  occasion — 
somewhat  to  harmonize  and  give  shape  to  the  feelings  that  had  been 
really  the  feelings  of  my  whole  life. 

"  Besides  this,  our  friends  there  had  provided  a  magnificent  flag  of 
the  country.  They  had  arranged  it  so  that  I  was  given  the  honor  of 
raising  it  to  the  head  of  its  staff.  And  when  it  went  up  I  was  pleased 
that  it  went  to  its  place  by  the  strength  of  my  own  feeble  arm ;  when, 
according  to  the  arrangement,  the  cord  was  pulled,  and  it  flaunted 


gloriously  to  the  wind  without  an  accident,  in  the  bright  glowing  sun- 
shine of  the  morning,  I  could  not  help  hoping  that  there  was  in  the  en- 
tire success  of  that  beautiful  ceremony  at  least  something  of  an  omen 
of  what  is  to  come.  Nor  could  I  help  feeling  then,  as  I  often  have  felt, 
that  in  the  whole  of  that  proceeding  I  was  a  very  humble  instrument.  I 
had  not  provided  the  flag;  I  had  not  made  the  arrangements  for  eleva- 
ting it  to  its  place.  I  had  applied  but  a  very  small  portion  of  my  feeble 
strength  in  raising  it.  In  the  whole  transaction  I  was  in  the  hands  of 
the  people  who  had  arranged  it ;  and  if  I  can  have  the  same  generous 
co-operation  of  the  people  of  the  nation,  I  think  the  flag  of  our  country 
may  yet  be  kept  flaunting  gloriously. 

"I  recur  for  a  moment  to  some  words  uttered  at  the  hotel  in  regard  to 
what  has  «been  said  about  the  military  support  which  the  general  gov- 
ernment may  expect  from  the  Commonwealth  of  Pennsylvania  in  a 
proper  emergency.  To  guard  against  any  possible  mistake  do  I  recur 
to  this.  It  is  not  with  any  pleasure  that  I  contemplate  the  possibility 
that  a  necessity  may  arise  in  this  country  for  the  use  of  the  military 
arm.  While  I  am  exceedingly  gratified  to  see  the  manifestation  upon 
your  streets  of  your  military  force  here,  and  exceedingly  gratified  at 
your  promise  here  to  use  that  force  upon  a  proper  emergency — while  I 
make  these  acknowledgments,  I  desire  to  repeat,  in  order  to  preclude 
any  possible  misconstruction,  that  I  do  most  sincerely  hope  that  we 
shall  have  no  use  for  them ;  that  it  will  never  become  their  duty  to  shed 
blood,  and  most  especially  never  to  shed  fraternal  blood.  I  promise 
that,  so  far  as  I  may  have  wisdom  to  direct,  if  so  painful  a  result  shall 
in  any  wise  be  brought  about,  it  shall  be  through  no  fault  of  mine." 

It  is  proper  to  call  renewed  attention  here  to  Mr.  Lincoln's 
strong  and  ever  present  conviction  that  he  was  only  a  humble 
instrument  in  the  hands  of  a  higher  power.  He  recognized 
the  people  as  one  of  the  higher  powers  which  held  him  in 
service,  and  his  illustration  of  his  position,  drawn  from  his 
office  in  raising  the  flag  over  Independence  Hall,  was  ex- 
tremely beautiful.  We  shall  find  this  conviction  deepening 
throughout  the  remainder  of  his  life — the  conviction  that  he 
was  nothing — that  he  was  of  no  consequence — save  as  an  in- 
strument, and  that  he  had  no  rights  and  no  mission  except 
those  which  were  deputed  to  him. 

At  the  conclusion  of  the  exercises  of  the  day,  Mr.  Lincoln, 
who  was  known  to  be  very  weary,  was  permitted  to  pass  un- 
disturbed to  his  apartments  in  the  Jones  House.  It  was 


popularly  understood  that  he  was  to  start  for  Washington 
the  next  morning;  and  the  people  of  Harrisburg  supposed 
they  had  taken  only  a  temporary  leave  of  him.  He  remained 
in  his  rooms  until  nearly  six  o'clock,  when  he  passed  into  the 
street,  entered  a  carriage  unobserved,  in  company  with  Colonel 
Lain  on,  and  was  driven  to  a  special  train  on  the  Pennsylvania 
Railroad,  in  waiting  for  him.  As  a  measure  of  precaution, 
the  telegraph  wires  were  cut  the  moment  he  left  Harrisburgh, 
so  that,  if  his  departure  should  be  discovered,  intelligence  of 
it  could  not  be  communicated  at  a  distance.  At  half  past 
ten,  the  train  arrived  at  Philadelphia,  and  here  Mr.  Lincoln 
was  met  by  the  detective,  who  had  a  carriage  in  readiness,  in 
which  the  party  were  driven  to  the  depot  of  the  Philadelphia, 
Wilmington  and  Baltimore  Railroad.  At  a  quarter  past  eleven 
they  arrived,  and,  .very  fortunately,  found  the  regular  train, 
which  should  have  left  at  eleven,  delayed.  The  party  took 
berths  in  the  sleeping  car,  and,  without  change  of  cars,  passed 
directly  through  Baltimore  to  Washington,  where  Mr.  Lin- 
coln arrived  at  half  past  six  o'clock  in  the  morning,  and 
found  Mr.  Washburne  anxiously  awaiting  him.  He  was  taken 
into  a  carriage,  and  in  a  few  minutes  he  was  talking  over  his 
adventures,  with  Senator  Seward  at  Willard's  Hotel. 

Mr.  Lincoln's  family  left  Harrisburgh  on  the  special  train 
that  had  been  intended  for  him,  and  as  news  of  his  safe  arrival 
in  Washington  was  already  telegraphed  over  the  country,  no 
disturbance  was  made  by  the  passage  of  the  party  through 
Baltimore.  It  was  found  that  the  number  of  original  con- 
spirators was  about  twenty,  all  of  whose  names  were  in  pos- 
session of  responsible  parties.  It  was  a  bold  plot,  ingeniously 
foiled ;  but  the  detective  through  whose  means  the  President's 
life  had  been  saved,  was  not  considered  safe  in  Washington, 
and  after  a  day  or  two  was  sent  away.  It  should  be  added 
that  the  current  story  that  Mr.  Lincoln  passed  through  Bal- 
timore disguised  in  a  "long  military  cloak  and  Scotch  cap," 
is  a  pure  fabrication,  written  by  a  man  who  hated  Mr.  Lincoln, 
and  knew  absolutely  nothing  of  the  event  of  which  he  wrote. 
Mr.  Lincoln  did  not  find  it  necessary  to  adopt  any  disguise. 

LIFE    OF    ABRAHAM    LINCOLN".  275 

It  is  a' curious  coincidence  that  Mr.  Seward  and  his  son 
who  both  were  very  active  in  the  discovery  of  this  plot,  and 
in  the  measures  for  avoiding  its  consequences,  were  the  only 
sharers  in  that  violence  which,  at  a  later  period,  destroyed  Mr, 
Lincoln's  life.  It  is  also  a  very  suggestive  fact,  touching  the 
responsibility  of  the  southern  leaders  for  Mr.  Lincoln's  assas- 
sination, that  when  a  man  of  the  name  of  Byrne  was  arrested 
in  Richmond  a  year  afterwards,  for  keeping  a  gambling  house 
and  for  disloyalty  to  the  confederate  government,  he  was  re- 
leased on  the  testimony  of  Mr.  Wigfall,  who,  to  prove  the 
man's  truth  to  treason,  swore  that  he  was  captain  of  the  band 
that  plotted  to  assassinate  President  Lincoln  in  Baltimore. 

The  city  of  Washington  was  thrown  into  a  flutter  of  ex- 
citement by  this  unexpected  arrival.  Mr.  Lincoln's  foes — 
and  there  were  multitudes  of  them  in  Washington — ridiculed 
his  fears,  and  his  friends  were  equally  angry  and  ashamed 
that  the  chosen  chief  of  the  nation  should  consent  to  sneak 
into  his  capital ;  but  the  latter,  sooner  or  later,  learned  that  he 
had  taken  the  wiser  course.  It  was,  indeed,  a  very  shameful 
thing  that  the  President  elect  should  have  been  obliged  to  do 
what  he  did,  but  so  long  as  he  was  not  responsible  for  it,  the 
shame  in  no  way  attaches  to  him. 

Mr.  Lincoln  went  immediately  into  free  conferences  with 
his  friends,  visited  both  houses  of  Congress,  and  after  a  day 
he  was  waited  upon  by  the  Mayor  and  the  municipal  author- 
ities, who  gave  him  formal  welcome  to  the  city.  In  his  brief 
reply,  he  took  occasion  to  say  that  he  thought  much  of  the 
ill  feeling  existing  between  those  living  in  free  and  slave  states 
Was  owing  to  their  failure  to  understand  one  another,  and  then 
assured  the  Mayor  and  his  party  that  he  did  not  then  enter- 
tain, and  had  never  entertained,  any  other  than  kindly  feelings 
toward  the  South,  that  he  had  no  disposition  to  treat  the  peo- 
ple of  the  South  otherwise  than  as  his  own  neighbors,  and  that 
he  had  no  wish  to  withhold  from  them  any  of  the  benefits  of 
the  Constitution.  On  the  second  evening  after  his  arrival, 
the  Republican  Association  tendered  him  the  courtesy  of  a 
serenade,  which  attracted  a  large  crowd  of  friends  and  curious 


spectators.  On  being  called  out,  he  made  much  such  an  ad- 
dress as  he  had  already  made  to  the  Mayor,  closing  with  an 
expression  of  the  conviction  that  when  they  should  come  to 
know  each  other  better  they  would  be  better  friends. 

The  days  that  preceded  the  inauguration  were  rapidly 
passing  away.  In  the  meantime,  although  General  Scott  had 
been  busy  and  efficient  in  his  military  preparations  for  the  oc- 
casion, many  were  fearful  that  scenes  of  violence  would  be 
enacted  on  that  day,  even  should  Mr.  Lincoln  be  permitted  to 
escape  assassination  in  the  meantime.  It  was  a  time  of  fearful 
uncertainty.  The  leading  society  of  Washington  hated  Mr. 
Lincoln  and  the  principles  he  represented.  If  it  would  be 
uncharitable  to  say  that  they  would  have  rejoiced  in  his  death, 
it  is  certainly  true  that  they  were  in  perfect  sympathy  with 
those  who  were  plotting  his  destruction.  His  coming  and  re- 
maining would  be  death  to  the  social  dominance  of  slavery  in 
the  national  capital.  This  they  felt;  and  nothing  would  have 
pleased  them  better  than  a  revolution  which  would  send  Mr. 
Lincoln  back  to  Illinois,  and  install  Jefferson  Davis  in  the 
White  House.  There  was  probably  not  one  man  in  five  in 
Washington  at  the  time  Mr.  Lincoln  entered  the  city  who,  in 
his  heart,  gave  him  welcome.  It  is  not  to  be  wondered  at 
that  his  friends  all  over  the  country  looked  nervously  forward 
to  the  fourth  of  March. 


THE  morning  of  the  fourth  of  March  broke  beautifully 
clear,  and  it  found  General  Scott  and  the  Washington  police  in 
readiness  for  the  day.  The  friends  of  Mr.  Lincoln  had  gath- 
ered in  from  far  and  near,  determined  that  he  should  be  inaugu- 
rated. In  the  hearts  of  the  surging  crowds  there  was  anxiety ; 
but  outside,  all  looked  as  usual  on  such  occasions,  with  the 
single  exception  of  an  extraordinary  display  of  soldiers.  The 
public  buildings,  the  schools  and  most  of  the  places  of  business 
were  closed  during  the  day,  and  the  stars  and  stripes  were 
floating  from  every  flag-staff.  There  was  a  great  desire  to 
hear  Mr.  Lincoln's  inaugural ;  and,  at  an  early  hour,  Pennsyl- 
vania Avenue  was  full  of  people,  wending  their  way  to  the 
east  front  of  the  capitol,  from  which  it  was  to  be  delivered. 

At  five  minutes  before  twelve  o'clock,  Vice-President  Breck- 
inridge  and  Senator  Foote  escorted  Mr.  Hamlin,  the  Vice- 
President  elect,  into  the  Senate  Chamber,  and  gave  him  a  seat 
at  the  left  of  the  chair.  At  twelve,  Mr.  Breckinridge  an- 
nounced the  Senate  adjourned  without  day,  and  then  con- 
ducted Mr.  Hamlin  to  the  seat  he  had  vacated.  At  this 
moment,  the  foreign  diplomats,  of  whom  there  was  a  very 
large  and  brilliant  representation,  entered  the  chamber,  and 
took  the  seats  assigned  to  them.  At  a  quarter  before  one 
o'clock,  the  Judges  of  the  Supreme  Court  entered,  with  the 
venerable  Chief  Justice  Taney  at  their  head,  each  exchanging 
salutes  with  the  new  Vice-President,  as  they  took  their  seats. 
At  a  quarter  past  one  o'clock,  an  unusual  stir  and  excitement 


announced  the  coming  of  the  most  important  personage  of  the 
occasion.  It  was  a  relief  to  many  to  know  that  he  was  safely 
within  the  building;  and  those  who  were  assembled  in  the 
hall  regarded  with  the  profoundest  interest  the  entrance  of 
President  Buchanan  and  the  President  elect — the  outgoing 
and  the  incoming  man.  A  procession  was  then  formed  which 
passed  to  the  platform  erected  for  the  ceremonies  of  the  oc- 
casion, in  the  following  order:  Marshal  of  the  District  of 
Columbia,  Judges  of  the  Supreme  Court  and  Sergeant-at- 
Anns,  Senate  Committee  of  Arrangements,  President  of  the 
United  States  and  President  elect,  Vice-President,  Clerk  of 
the  Senate,  Senators,  Diplomatic  Corps,  heads  of  departments, 
Governors  of  states,  and  such  others  as  were  in  the  chamber. 
On  arriving  at  the  platform,  Senator  Baker  of  Oregon,  whose 
name  as  one  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  old  friends  and  political  rivals 
in  Illinois  has  been  frequently  mentioned  in  this  volume,  in- 
troduced Mr.  Lincoln  to  the  assembly.  There  was  not  a  very 
hearty  welcome  given  to  the  President,  as  he  stepped  forward 
to  read  his  inaugural.  His  enemies  were  too  many,  and  his 
friends  too  much  in  fear  of  exasperating  them.  The  repre- 
sentative of  American  loyalty  carried  his  burden  alone.  The 
inaugural  was  listened  to  with  profound  attention,  every  pas- 
sage being  vociferously  cheered  which  contained  any  allusion 
to  the  Union,  and  none  listening  more  carefully  than  Mr.  Bu- 
chanan and  Judge  Taney,  the  latter  of  whom,  with  much  ag- 
itation, administered  the  oath  of  office  to  Mr.  Lincoln  when 
his  address  was  concluded. 

Mr.  Lincoln  himself  must  have  wondered  at  the  strange 
conjunction  of  personages  and  events.  The  "Stephen"  of 
his  first  speech  in  the  old  senatorial  campaign  was  a  defeated 
candidate  for  the  presidency  who  then  stood  patriotically  at 
his  side,  holding  the  hat  of  the  republican  President,  which 
he  had  politely  taken  at  the  beginning  of  the  inaugural  ad- 
dress; "James"  had  just  walked  out  of  office  to  make  room 
for  him;  "Franklin"  had  passed  into  comparative  obscurity 
or  something  worse,  and  "Roger"  had  just  administered  to 
him  the  oath  of  office. 


No  thorough  understanding  of  the  moderate  and  concilia- 
tory tone  of  the  inaugural  can  be  acquired  without  a  perusal 
of  the  document  itself.  Its  arguments  were  unanswerable, 
and  its  tone  of  respectful  friendliness  toward  the  South  so 
marked  that  great  pains  were  subsequently  taken  by  the 
southern  press  to  misrepresent  it,  and  to  counteract  its  ef- 
fects. Mr.  Lincoln  said: 

"  FELLOW-CITIZENS  OP  THE  UNITED  STATES: — In  compliance  with  a 
custom  as  old  as  the  government  itself,  I  appear  before  you  to  address 
you  briefly,  and  to  take,  in  your  presence,  the  oath  prescribed  by  the 
Constitution  of  the  United  States  to  be  taken  by  the  President  before 
he  enters  on  the  execution  of  his  office. 

"  I  do  not  consider  it  necessary,  at  present,  for  me  to  discuss  those 
matters  of  administration  about  which  there  is  no  special  anxiety  or 
excitement.  Apprehension  seems  to  exist  among  the  people  of  the 
southern  states,  that,  by  the  accession  of  a  republican  administration, 
their  property  and  their  peace  and  personal  security  are  to  be  endan- 
gered. There  has  never  been  any  reasonable  cause  for  such  apprehen- 
sion. Indeed,  the  most  ample  evidence  to  the  contrary  has  all  the  while 
existed,  and  been  open  to  their  inspection.  It  is  found  in  nearly  all  the 
published  speeches  of  him  who  now  addresses  you.  I  do  but  quote 
from  one  of  those  speeches,  when  I  declare  that  '  I  have  no  purpose, 
directly  or  indirectly,  to  interfere  with  the  institution  of  slavery  in  the 
states  where  it  exists.'  I  believe  I  have  no  lawful  right  to  do  so;  and  I 
have  no  inclination  to  do  so.  Those  who  nominated  and  elected  me  did 
so  with  the  full  knowledge  that  I  had  made  this,  and  made  many  similar 
declarations,  and  had  never  recanted  them.  And,  more  than  this,  they 
placed  in  the  platform,  for  my  acceptance,  and  as  a  law  to  themselves 
and  to  me,  the  clear  and  emphatic  resolution  which  I  now  read : 

" '  Resolved,  That  the  maintenance  inviolate  of  the  rights  of  the  states, 
and  especially  the  right  of  each  state  to  order  and  control  its  own  do- 
mestic institutions  according  to  its  own  judgment  exclusively,  is  essential 
to  that  balance  of  power  on  which  the  perfection  and  endurance  of  our 
political  fabric  depend ;  and  we  denounce  the  lawless  invasion  by  armed 
force  of  the  soil  of  any  state  or  territory,  no  matter  under  what  pretext, 
as  among  the  gravest  of  crimes.' 

"  I  now  reiterate  these  sentiments ;  and  in  doing  so  I  only  press  upon 
the  public  attention  the  most  conclusive  evidence  of  which  the  case  is 
susceptible,  that  the  property,  peace,  and  security  of  no  section  are  to 
be  in  anywise  endangered  by  the  now  incoming  administration. 

"  I  add,  too,  that  all  the  protection  which,  consistently  with  the  Con- 
stitution and  the  laws,  can  be  given,  will  be  cheerfully  given  to  all  the 


states  when  lawfully  demanded,  for  whatever  cause,  as  cheerfully  to  one 
section  as  to  another. 

"  There  is  much  controversy  about  the  delivering  up  of  fugitives  from 
service  or  labor.  The  clause  I  now  read  is  as  plainly  written  in  the 
Constitution  as  any  other  of  its  provisions : 

"'No  person  held  to  service  or  labor  in  one  state  under  the  laws 
thereof,  escaping  into  another,  shall,  in  consequence  of  any  law  or  regu- 
lation therein,  be  discharged  from  such  service  or  labor,  but  shall  be 
delivered  up  on  claim  of  the  party  to  whom  such  service  or  labor  may 
be  due.' 

"  It  is  scarcely  questioned  that  this  provision  was  intended  by  those 
who  made  it  for  the  reclaiming  of  what  we  call  fugitive  slaves ;  and  the 
intention  of  the  lawgiver  is  the  law. 

"  All  members  of  Congress  swear  their  support  to  the  whole  Consti- 
tution— to  this  provision  as  well  as  any  other.  To  the  proposition,  then, 
that  slaves  whose  cases  come  within  the  terms  of  this  clause  '  shall  be  de- 
livered up,'  their  oaths  are  unanimous.  Now,  if  they  would  make  the 
effort  in  good  temper,  could  they  not,  with  nearly  equal  unanimity,  frame 
and  pass  a  law  by  means  of  which  to  keep  good  that  unanimous  oath  ? 

"  There  is  some  difference  of  opinion  whether  this  clause  should  be 
enforced  by  national  or  by  state  authority;  but  surely  that  difference' is 
not  a  very  material  one.  If  the  slave  is  to  be  surrendered,  it  can  be  of 
but  little  consequence  to  him  or  to  others  by  which  authority  it  is  done; 
and  should  any  one,  in  any  case,  be  content  that  this  oath  shall  go  un- 
kept  on  a  merely  unsubstantial  controversy  as  to  how  it  shall  be  kept? 

"Again,  in  any  law  upon  this  subject,  ought  not  all  the  safeguards  of 
liberty  known  in  civilized  and  humane  jurisprudence  to  be  introduced, 
so  that  a  free  man  be  not,  in  any  case,  surrendered  as  a  slave  ?  And 
might  it  not  be  well  at  the  same  time  to  provide  by  law  for  the  en- 
forcement of  that  clause  in  the  Constitution  which  guarantees  that '  the 
citizens  of  each  state  shall  be  entitled  to  all  the  privileges  and  immuni- 
ties of  citizens  in  the  several  states  ? ' 

"I  take  the  official  oath  to-day  with  no  mental  reservations,  and  with 
no  purpose  to  construe  the  Constitution  or  laws  by  any  hypercritical 
rules ;  and  while  I  do  not  choose  now  to  specify  particular  acts  of  Con- 
gress as  proper  to  be  enforced,  I  do  suggest  that  it  will  be  much  safer 
for  all,  both  in  official  and  private  stations,  to  conform  to  and  abide  by 
all  those  acts  which  stand  unrepealed,  than  to  violate  any  of  them, 
trusting  to  find  impunity  in  having  them  held  to  be  unconstitutional. 

"It  is  seventy-two  years  since  the  first  inauguration  of  a  President 
under  our  national  Constitution.  During  that  period  fifteen  different 
and  very  distinguished  citizens  have  in  succession  administered  the  ex- 
ecutive branch  of  the  government.  They  have  conducted  it  through 
many  perils,  and  generally  with  great  success.  Yet,  with  all  this  scope 


for  precedent,  I  now  enter  upon  the  same  task,  for  the  brief  constitu- 
tional term  of  four  years,  under  great  and  peculiar  difficulties. 

"A  disruption  of  the  Federal  Union, heretofore  only  menaced, is  now 
formidably  attempted.  I  hold  that  in  the  contemplation  of  universal 
law  and  of  the  Constitution,  the  union  of  these  states  is  perpetual. 
Perpetuity  is  implied,  if  not  expressed,  in  the  fundamental  law  of  all 
national  governments.  It  is  safe  to  assert  that  no  government  proper 
ever  had  a  provision  in  its  organic  law  for  its  own  termination.  Con- 
tinue to  execute  all  the  express  provisions  of  our  national  Constitution, 
and  the  Union  will  endure  forever,  it  being  impossible  to  destroy  it  ex- 
cept by  some  action  not  provided  for  in  the  instrument  itself. 

"Again,  if  the  United  States  be  not  a  government  proper,  but  an  as- 
sociation of  states  in  the  nature  of  a  contract  merely,  can  it,  as  a  con- 
tract, be  peaceably  unmade  by  less  than  all  the  parties  who  made  it? 
One  party  to  a  contract  may  violate  it — break  it,  so  to  speak ;  but  does 
it  not  require  all  to  lawfully  rescind  it?  Descending  from  these  gen- 
eral principles,  we  find  the  proposition  that  in  legal  contemplation  the 
Union  is  perpetual,  confirmed  by  the  history  of  the  Union  itself. 

"  The  Union  is  much  older  than  the  Constitution.  It  was  formed,  in 
fact,  by  the  Articles  of  Association  in  1774.  It  was  matured  and  con- 
tinued in  the  Declaration  of  Independence  in  1776.  It  was  further  ma- 
tured, and  the  faith  of  all  the  then  thirteen  states  expressly  plighted 
and  engaged  that  it  should  be  perpetual,  by  the  Articles  of  the  Confeder- 
ation, in  1778 ;  and,  finally,  in  1787,  one  of  the  declared  objects  for  or- 
daining and  establishing  the  Constitution  was  to  form  a  more  perfect 
union.  But  if  the  destruction  of  the  Union  by  one  or  by  a  part  only 
of  the  states  be  lawfully  possible,  the  Union  is  less  perfect  than  before, 
the  Constitution  having  lost  the  vital  element  of  perpetuity. 

"It  follows  from  these  views  that  no  state,  upon  its  own  mere  motion, 
can  lawfully  get  out  of  the  Union ;  that  resolves  and  ordinances  to  that 
effect  are  legally  void;  and  that  acts  of  violence  within  any  state  or 
states  against  the  authority  of  the  United  States  are  insurrectionary  or 
revolutionary,  according  to  circumstances.  » 

"I  therefore  consider  that,  in  view  of  the  Constitution  and  the  laws, 
the  Union  is  unbroken,  and,  to  the  extent  of  my  ability,  I  shall  take 
care,  as  the  Constitution  itself  expressly  enjoins  upon  me,  that  the  laws 
of  the  Union  shall  be  faithfully  executed  in  all  the  states.  Doing  this, 
which  I  deem  to  be  only  a  simple  duty  on  my  part,  I  shall  perfectly 
perform  it,  so  far  as  is  practicable,  unless  my  rightful  masters,  the 
American  people,  shall  withhold  the  requisition,  or  in  some  authorita- 
tive manner  direct  the  contrary. 

"I  trust  this  will  not  be  regarded  as  a  menace,  but  only  as  the  de- 
clared purpose  of  the  Union  that  it  will  constitutionally  defend  and 
maintain  itself. 


"In  doing  this  there  need  be  no  bloodshed  or  violence,  and  there  shall 
be  none  unless  it  is  forced  upon  the  national  authority. 

"  The  power  confided  to  me  will  be  used  to  hold,  occupy,  and  possess  the 
property  and  places  belonging  to  the  government,  and  collect  the  duties  and 
imposts;  but  beyond  what  may  be  necessary  for  these  objects  there  will 
be  no  invasion,  no  using  of  force  against  or  among  the  people  anywhere. 

"  Where  hostility  to  the  United  States  shall  be  so  great  and  so  uni- 
versal as  to  prevent  competent  resident  citizens  from  holding  fed- 
eral offices,  there  will  be  no  attempt  to  force  obnoxious  strangers  among 
the  people  that  object.  While  strict  legal  right  may  exist  of  the  gov- 
ernment to  enforce  the  exercise  of  these  offices,  the  attempt  to  do  so 
would  be  so  irritating,  and  so  nearly  impracticable  withal,  that  1  deem 
it  best  to  forego  for  the  time  the  uses  of  such  offices. 

"  The  mails,  unless  repelled,  will  continue  to  be  furnished  in  all  parts 
of  the  Union. 

"  So  far  as  possible,  the  people  everywhere  shall  have  that  sense  of 
perfect  security  which  is  most  favorable  to  calm  thought  and  reflection. 

"The  course  here  indicated  will  be  followed,  unless  current  events 
and  experience  shall  show  a  modification  or  change  to  be  proper ;  and 
in  every  case  and  exigency  my  best  discretion  will  be  exercised  accord- 
ing to  the  circumstances  actually  exiting,  and  with  a  view  and  hope  of 
a  peaceful  solution  of  the  national  troubles,  and  the  restoration  of  fra- 
ternal sympathies  and  affections. 

"  That  there  are  persons,  in  one  section  or  another,  who  seek  to  de- 
stroy the  Union  at  all  events,  and  are  glad  of  any  pretext  to  do  it,  I 
•will  neither  affirm  nor  deny.  But  if  there  be  such,  I  need  address  no 
word  to  them. 

"  To  those,  however,  who  really  love  the  Union,  may  I  not  speak,  be- 
fore entering  upon  so  grave  a  matter  as  the  destruction  of  our  national 
fabric,  with  all  its  benefits,  its  memories,  and  its  hopes  ?  Would  it  not 
be  well  to  ascertain  why  we  do  it?  Will  you  hazard  so  desperate  a 
step,  while  any  portion  of  the  ills  you  fly  from  have  no  real  existence  ? 
Will  you,  while  the  certain  ills  you  fly  to  are  greater  than  all  the  real 
ones  you  fly  from  ?  Will  you  risk  the  commission  of  so  fearful  a  mis- 
take ?  All  profess  to  be  content  in  the  Union  if  all  constitutional  rights 
can  be  maintained.  Is  it  true,  then,  that  any  right,  plainly  written  in  the 
Constitution,  has  been  denied?  I  think  not.  Happily  the  human  mind 
is  so  constituted  that  no  party  can  reach  to  the  audacity  of  doing  this. 

"  Think,  if  you  can,  of  a  single  instance  in  which  a  plainly-written 
provision  of  the  Constitution  has  ever  been  denied.  If,  by  the  mere 
force  of  numbers,  a  majority  should  deprive  a  minority  of  any  clearly- 
written  constitutional  right,  it  might,  in  a  moral  point  of  view,  justify 
revolution ;  it  certainly  would,  if  such  right  were  a  vital  one.  But  such 
is  not  our  case. 


"All  the  vital  rights  of  minorities  and  of  individuals  are  so  plainly 
assured  to  them  by  affirmations  and  negations,  guaranties  and  prohibi- 
tions in  the  Constitution,  that  controversies  never  arise  concerning 
them.  But  no  organic  law  can  ever  be  framed  with  a  provision  specifi- 
cally applicable  to  every  question  which  may  occur  in  practical  admin- 
istration. No  foresight  can  anticipate,  nor  any  document  of  reasonable 
length  contain,  express  provisions  for  all  possible  questions.  Shall 
fugitives  from  labor  be  surrendered  by  national  or  by  state  authorities  V 
The  Constitution  does  not  expressly  say.  Must  Congress  protect  slav- 
ery in  the  territories?  The  Constitution  does  not  expressly  say.  From 
questions  of  this  class,  spring  all  our  constitutional  controversies,  and 
we  divide  upon  them  into  majorities  and  minorities. 

"If  the  minority  will  not  acquiesce,  the  majority  must,  or  the  gov" 
eminent  must  cease.  There  is  no  alternative  for  continuing  the  gov^ 
eminent  but  acquiescence  on  the  one  side  or  the  other.  If  a  minority 
in  such  a  case  will  secede  rather  than  acquiesce,  they  make  a  precedent, 
which,  in  turn,  will  ruin  and  divide  them,  for  a  minority  of  their  own 
•will  secede  from  them  whenever  a  majority  refuses  to  be  controlled  by 
such  a  minority.  For  instance,  why  not  any  portion  of  a  new  confedr 
eracy,  a  year  or  two  hence,  arbitrarily  secede  again,  precisely  as  por- 
tions of  the  present  Union  now  claim  to  secede  from  it?  All  who 
cherish  disunion  sentiments  are  now  being  educated  to  the  exact  temper 
of  doing  this.  Js  there  such  perfect  identity  of  interests  among  the 
states  to  compose  a  new  Union  as  to  produce  harmony  only,  and  pre- 
vent renewed  secession?  Plainly,  the  central  idea  of  secession  is  the 
essence  of  anarchy. 

"A  majority  held  in  restraint  by  constitutional  check  and  limitation, 
and  always  changing  easily  with  deliberate  changes  of  popular  opinions 
and  sentiments,  is  the  only  true  sovereign  of  a  free  people.  AVhoever 
rejects  it,  does,  of  necessity,  fly  to  anarchy  or  to  despotism.  Unanimity 
is  impossible ;  the  rule  of  a  minority,  as  a  permanent  arrangement,  is 
wholly  inadmissible.  So  that,  rejecting  the  majority  principle,  anarchy 
or  despotism,  in  some  form,  is  all  that  is  left. 

"  I  do  not  forget  the  position  assumed  by  some  that  constitutional 
questions  are  to  be  decided  by  the  Supreme  Court,  nor  do  I  deny  that 
such  decisions  must  be  binding  in  any  case  upon  the  parties  to  a  suit, 
as  to  the  object  of  that  suit,  while  they  are  also  entitled  to  a  very  high 
respect  and  consideration  in  all  parallel  cases  by  all  other  departments 
of  the  government;  and  while  it  is  obviously  possible  that  such  decision 
may  be  erroneous  in  any  given  case,  still  the  evil  effect  following  it, 
being  limited  to  that  particular  case,  with  the  chance  that  it  may  be 
overruled  and  never  become  a  precedent  for  other  cases,  can  better  be 
borne  than  could  the  evils  of  a  different  practice. 

"At  the  same  time  the  candid  citizen  must  confess  that,  if  the  policy 


of  the  government  upon  the  vital  question  affecting  the  whole  people 
is  to  be  irrevocably  fixed  by  the  decisions  of  the  Supreme  Court,  the 
instant  they  are  made,  as  in  ordinary  litigation  between  parties  in  per- 
sonal actions,  the  people  will  have  ceased  to  be  their  own  masters,  un- 
less having  to  that  extent  practically  resigned  their  government  into 
the  hands  of  that  eminent  tribunal. 

"Nor  is  there  in  this  view  any  assault  upon  the  court  or  the  judges. 
It  is  a  duty  from  which  they  may  not  shrink,  to  decide  cases  properly 
brought  before  them;  and  it  is  no  fault  of  theirs  if  others  seek  to  turn 
tlfeir  decisions  to  political  purposes.  One  section  of  our  country  be- 
lieves slavery  is  right,  and  ought  to  be  extended,  while  the  other  be- 
lieves it  is  wrong,  and  ought  not  to  be  extended-,  and  this  is  the  only 
substantial  dispute;  and  the  fugitive  slave  clause. of  the  Constitution 
and  the  law  for  the  suppression  of  the  foreign  slave  trade,  are  each  as 
well  enforced,  perhaps,  as  any  law  can  ever  be  in  a  community  where 
the  moral  sense  of  the  people  imperfectly  supports  the  law  itself.  The 
great  body  of  the  people  abide  by  the  dry  legal  obligation  in  both  cases, 
and  a  few  break  over  in  each.  This,  I  think,  cannot  be  perfectly  cured, 
and  it  would  be  wrorse,  in  both  cases,  after  the  separation  of  the  sections, 
than  before.  The  foreign  slave  trade,  now  imperfectly  suppressed, 
would  be  ultimately  revived,  without  restriction,  in  one  section;  while 
fugitive  slaves,  now  only  partially  surrendered,  would  not  be  surren- 
dered at  all  by  the  other 

"Physically  speaking  we  can  not  separate;  we  can  not  remove  our 
respective  sections  from  each  other,  nor  build  an  impassable  wall  be- 
tween them.  A  husband  and  wife  may  be  divorced,  and  go  out  of  the 
presence  and  beyond  the  reach  of  each  other,  but  the  different  parts  of 
our  country  cannot  do  this.  They  can  not  but  remain  face  to  face ;  and 
intercourse,  either  amicable  or  hostile,  must  continue  between  them. 
Is  it  possible,  then,  to  make  that  intercourse  more  advantageous  or 
more  satisfactory  after  separation  than  before  ?  Can  aliens  make  treat- 
ies easier  than  friends  can  make  lawsV  Can  treaties  be  more  faithfully 
enforced  between  aliens  than  laws  can  among  friends  ?  Suppose  you 
go  to  war,  you  cannot  fight  always;  and  when,  after  much  loss  on  both 
sides,  and  no  gain  on  either,  you  cease  fighting,  the  identical  questions 
as  to  terms  of  intercourse  are  again  upon  you. 

"This  country,  with  its  institutions,  belongs  to  the  people  who  inhabit 
it.  Whenever  they  shall  grow  weary  of  the  existing  government,  they 
can  exercise  their  constitutional  right  of  amending,  or  their  revolution- 
ary right  to  dismember  or  overthrow  it.  I  can  not  be  ignorant  of  the 
fact  that  many  worthy  and  patriotic  citizens  are  desirous  of  having  the 
national  Constitution  amended.  While  1  make  no  recommendation  of 
amendment-  I  fully  recognize  the  full  authority  of  the  people  over  the 
whole  subject,  to  be  exercised  in  either  of  the  modes  prescribed  in  the 


instrument  itself,  and  I  should,  under  existing  circumstances,  favor 
rather  than  oppose  a  fair  opportunity  being  afforded  the  people  to  act 
upon  it. 

"I  will  venture  to  add,  that  to  me  the  convention  mode  seems  prefer- 
able, in  that  it  alloAvs  amendments  to  originate  with  the  people  them- 
selves, instead  of  only  permitting  them  to  take  or  reject  propositions 
originated  by  others  not  especially  chosen  for  the  purpose,  and  which 
might  not  be  precisely  such  as  they  would  wish  either  to  accept  or  re- 
fuse. I  understand  that  a  proposed  amendment  to  the  Constitution 
(which  amendment,  however,  I  have  not  seen)  has  passed  Congress,  to 
the  effect  that  the  federal  government  shall  never  interfere  with  the 
domestic  institutions  of  states,  including  that  of  persons  held  to  service. 
To  avoid  misconstruction  of  what  I  have  said,  I  depart  from  my  purpose 
not  to  speak  of  particular  amendments,  so  far  as  to  say  that,  holding 
such  a  provison  to  now  be  implied  constitutional  law,  I  have  no  objec- 
tion to  its  being  made  express  and  irrevocable. 

"  The  chief  magistrate  derives  all  his  authority  from  the  people,  and 
they  have  conferred  none  upon  him  to  fix  the  terms  for  the  separation 
of  the  states.  The  people  themselves,  also,  can  do  this  if  they  choose, 
but  the  executive,  as  such,  has  nothing  to  do  with  it.  His  duty  is  to 
administer  the  present  government  as  it  came  to  his  hands,  and  to 
transmit  it  unimpaired  by  him  to  his  successor.  Why  should  there  not 
be  a  patient  confidence  in  the  ultimate  justice  of  the  people  ?  Is  there 
any  better  or  equal  hope  in  the  world?  In  our  present  differences  is 
either  party  without  faith  of  being  in  the  right?  If  the  Almighty 
Ruler  of  nations,  with  his  eternal  truth  and  justice,  be  on  your  side  of 
the  North,  or  on  yours  of  the  South,  that  truth  and  that  justice  will 
surely  prevail  by  the  judgment  of  this  great  tribunal,  the  American 
people.  By  the  frame  of  the  government  under  which  we  live,  this 
same  people  have  wisely  given  their  public  servants  but  little  power 
for  mischief,  and  have  with  equal  wisdom  provided  for  the  return  of 
that  little  to  their  own  hands  at  very  short  intervals.  While  the  people 
retain  their  virtue  and  vigilance,  no  administration,  by  any  extreme 
wickedness  or  folly,  can  very  seriously  injure  the  government  in  the 
short  space  of  four  years. 

"My  countrymen,  one  and  all,  think*calmly  and  well  upon  this  whole 
subject.  Nothing  valuable  can  be  lost  by  taking  time. 

"If  there  be  an  object  to  hurry  any  of  you,  in  hot  haste,  to  a  step 
which  you  would  never  take  deliberately,  that  object  will  be  frustrated 
by  taking  time :  but  no  good  object  can  be  frustrated  by  it. 

"  Such  of  you  as  are  now  dissatisfied  still  have  the  old  Constitution 
unimpaired,  and,  on  the  sensitive  point,  the  laws  of  your  own  framing 
under  it ;  while  the  new  administration  will  have  no  immediate  power, 
if  it  would,  to  change  either. 


"If  it  were  admitted  that  you  who  are  dissatisfied  hold  the  right  side 
in  the  dispute,  there  is  still  no  single  reason  for  precipitate  action.  In- 
telligence, patriotism,  Christianity,  and  a  firm  reliance  on  Him  who  has 
never  yet  forsaken  this  favored  land,  are  still  competent  to  adjust,  in 
the  best  way,  all  our  present  difficulties. 

"  In  your  hands,  my  dissatisfied  fellow-countrymen,  and  not  in  mine, 
is  the  momentous  issue  of  civil  war.  The  government  will  not  assail 

"  You  can  have  no  conflict  without  being  yourselves  the  aggressors. 
You  have  no  oath  registered  in  Heaven  to  destroy  the  government; 
while  I  shall  have  the  most  solemn  one  to  'preserve,  protect,  and  de- 
fend it 

•'  I  am  loth  to  close.  AVe  are  not  enemies,  but  friends.  We  must  not 
be  enemies.  Though  passion  may  have  strained,  it  must  not  break  our 
bonds  of  affection. 

•'  The  mystic  cords  of  memory,  stretching  from  every  battle-field  and 
patriot  grave  to  every  living  heart  and  hearthstone  all  over  this  broad 
land,  will  yet  swell  the  chorus  of  the  Union,  when  again  touched,  as 
surely  they  will  be,  by  the  better  angels  of  our  nature." 

The  address  delivered  and  the  oath  administered,  the  au- 
gust ceremonies  of  the  occasion  were  concluded ;  and,  passing 
back  through  the  Senate  Chamber,  the  President  was  escorted 
to  the  White  House,  where  Mr.  Buchanan  took  leave  of  him, 
and  where  the  people  were  received  by  him  in  large  numbers. 
Mr.  Lincoln,  on  being  asked  whether  he  felt  frightened  while 
delivering  his  address,  in  consequence  of  the  threats  of  assas- 
sination, replied  that  he  had  frequently  experienced  greater 
fear  in  addressing  a  dozen  western  men  on  the  subject  of  tem- 
perance. Of  one  thing  the  "fire-eaters"  were  assured  by  the 
address,  viz :  that  if  a  war  was  to  be  inaugurated,  they  would 
be  obliged  to  fire  the  first  gun.  Mr.  Lincoln  had  pledged 
himself  to  take  no  step  ot  e*'en  doubtful  propriety.  He  pro- 
posed simply  to  possess  and  hold  the  property  of  the  United. 

And  now  began  the  great  work  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  life.  The 
humble  boy,  reared  in  a  log  cabin,  was*  the  great  man,  occu- 
pying the  proudest  place  in  the  nation,  in  the  most  perilous 
period  of  that  nation's  existence.  He  was  in  the  White 
House  as  God's  and  the  people's  instrument,  to  work  for  both. 



His  first  duty  was  the  formal  designation  of  a  cabinet,  for 
undoubtedly  his  choice  of  secretaries  was  essentially  settled  in 
his  own  mind  before  he  left  home.  The  highest  position  was 
offered  to  Mr.  Seward,  the  first  statesman  in  the  republican 
party,'  and  the  equal  if  not  the  superior  of  any  in  the  country. 
Concerning  the  filling  of  the  office  of  Secretary  of  State,  it  is 
believed  that  Mr.  Lincoln  had  no  hesitation.  Mr.  Seward 
was  his  first  and  last  choice.  With  equal  promptitude  he  de- 
cided to  call  Edward  Bates  of  Missouri  to  the  office  of  Attor- 
ney General.  Simon  Cameron  of  Pennsylvania  was  known 
to  be  an  aspirant  for  cabinet  honors ;  and,  it  is  believed,  would 
have  accepted  the  post  of  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  with  more 
alacrity  than  he  did  that  of  Secretary  of  War,  to  which  Mr. 
•Lincoln  called  him.  Salmon  P.  Chase  of  Ohio,  who  shared 
with  Mr.  Seward  the  highest  regards  of  the  republican  party 
and  the  confidence  of  the  country,  was  appointed  to  the 
Treasury.  The  men  thus  brought  into  the  government  were 
all  prominent  candidates  for  the  presidency  at  Chicago,  and 
on  the  first  ballot  received  an  aggregate  of  three  hundred  and 
twenty-one  votes  of  the  four  hundred  arid  sixty-five  cast. 
The  great  majority  of  the  party  thus  had  the  expression  of 
their  first  choice  for  the  presidency  honored  by  Mr.  Lincoln 
in  a  remarkable  degree.  Gideon  Welles  of  Connecticut  was 
appointed  Secretary  of  the  Navy.  Caleb  B.  Smith  of  Indi- 
ana, an  old  personal  friend  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  for  many 
years  a  distinguished  politician  of  the  West,  was  offered  the 
Portfolio  of  the  Interior,  and  accepted  it;  and  Montgomery 
Blair  of  Maryland  was  appointed  Postmaster  General. 

Thus  furnished  with  his  secretaries,  another  most  important 
work  opened  before  him — the  clearing  the  departments  of  the 
sympathizers  with  treason.  This  was  indeed  a  Herculean 
task.  Treason  was  everywhere.  Every  department  was  in- 
fected. The  men  had  been  manipulated  so  long  by  treason- 
able hands — had  been  moulded  into  such  thorough  sympathy 
with  the  rebellion — and  had  so  imbibed  its  treacherous  spirit, 
that  no  measure  could  be  discussed  or  adopted  by  the  new 
administration  that  was  not  reported  to  the  rebels  by  some 


clerk  or  confidant.  The  government  was  betrayed  every  day 
by  its  own  agents.  Not  a  step  could  be  taken  by  Mr.  Lincoln, 
in  any  direction,  that  some  spy  in  the  departments,  or  some 
traitor  in  his  confidence,  did  not  report  to  his  enemies. 

There  were  certain  things  that  Mr.  Lincoln  specially  en- 
deavored to  do  in  his  inaugural  address,  and  hi  all  the  prelim- 
inary work  of  his  administration.  He  endeavored  to  show 
that  the  rebellion  was  without  an  adequate  cause — to  show 
this  first  to  his  own  people,  and  then  to  the  governments  and 
peoples  on  the  other  side  of  the  Atlantic.  He  endeavored  to 
leave  no  way  untried  that  promised  to  procure  or  preserve  an 
honorable  peace.  He  endeavored  so  to  manage  affairs  that 
whenever  open  hostilities  should  come,  they  should  be  begun 
by  the  rebels  and  not  by  the  government.  He  intended  to 
preserve  for  himself  and  for  the  government  a  clean  record. 
He  intended  to  bear  with  the  rebellion  just  so  long  as  it  con- 
fined itself  to  paper — nay,  further  than  this — to  bear  with  it 
to  the  silent  sufferance  of  many  practical  indignities.  He  did 
not  mean  to  unsheath  a  sword,  or  fire  a  gun,  until  the  rebellion 
absolutely  compelled  him  to  do  so.  Yet,  while  waiting  the 
development  of  events,  he  was  very  busily  engaged  in  clearing 
the  government  for  action.  Many  of  the  revelations  and 
movements  of  the  first  few  weeks  would  doubtless  be  startling, 
even  to-day,  but  the  time  has  not  yet  come  for  their  exposure. 

Mr.  Lincoln  found  not  only  the  departments  corrupt  and 
unreliable,  but  he  found  the  public  mind  abroad  thoroughly 
poisoned  against  him,  and  fully  in  sympathy  with  the  seces- 
sionists. Perhaps  a  majority  of  the  representatives  of  the 
government  in  Europe  were  in  the  secrets  of  the  seceders, 
and,  in  company  with  many  who  had  gone  from  the  southern 
states  to  shape  public  opinion  to  the  interests  of  treason,  were 
doing  everything  in  their  power  to  injure  the  government 
which  had  honored  them.  The  places  thus  disgraced  and 
made  instruments  in  the  hands  of  treason  were  to  be  filled  by 
loyal  men ;  and  a  set  of  influences  were  to  be  put  in  motion 
which  should  secure  respect  for  the  government,  and  a  sound 
understanding  of  the  merits  of  the  controversy  between  the 


government  and  slavery.  To  fill  these  places  was  not  an  easy 
task,  but  it  was  done  quickly  and,  in  the  main,  wisely. 

It  is  proper  here  to  give  an  explanation  of  Mr.  Lincoln's 
pacific  policy,  at  this  time.  Great  fault  was  subsequently 
found  with  him  by  the  extremists  among  his  northern  friends, 
for  his  deference  to  the  border  states ;  and  a  full  understanding 
of  his  policy,  as  it  related  to  these  states,  cannot  be  had  with- 
out going  back  to  this  period  when  it  was  initiated.  There 
were  fifteen  slave  states,  which  those  engaged  in  the  rebellion 
hoped  to  lead  or  to  force  into  secession.  At  the  time  of  the 
inauguration,  only  seven  of  these  fifteen — less  than  a  major- 
ity— had  revolted.  The  cotton  states  alone  had  followed  the 
lead  of  South  Carolina  out  of  the  Union.  Several  weeks  had 
passed  since  a  state  had  seceded ;  and  unless  other  states  could 
be  dragooned  into  the  movement,  the  rebellion  would  be  prac- 
tically a  failure  from  the  start.  Such  a  confederacy  could  not 
hope  to  live  a  year,  and  would  be  obliged  to  find  its  way  back 
into  the  Union  upon  some  terms.  In  the  meantime,  two  or 
three  conventions  in  the  border  states,  delegated  freshly  from 
the  people,  had  voted  distinctly  and  decidedly  not  to  secede. 
The  affairs  of  the  confederacy  were  really  in  a  very  precarious 
condition  when  Mr.  Lincoln  came  into  power.  The  rebel  gov- 
ernment was  making  very  much  more  bluster  than  progress. 

It  became  Mr.  Lincoln's  policy  so  to  conduct  affairs  as  to 
strengthen  the  Union  feeling  in  the  border  states,  and  to  give 
utterance  to  no  sentiment  and  to  do  no  deed  which  should 
drive  these  states  toward  the  confederacy.  He  saw  that  if  he 
could  hold  these  states,  there  could  not  be  a  very  serious  war; 
for  the  first  condition  of  success  to  the  rebel  cause  was  its 
general  adoption  by  the  border  slave  states.  To  hold  these 
states  by  every  means  that  did  not  bring  absolute  disgrace 
upon  the  government  was  his  object.  He  must  do  nothing 
that  would  weaken  the  hands  of  Union  men.  The  difficult 
position  of  these  Union  men  he  fully  comprehended  and  con- 
sidered. Of  course,  he  had-a  hard  path  to  pursue ;  and  it  is 
not  strange  that  those  more  hasty  than  himself  should  some- 
times think  he  was  loitering  by  the  way,  or  was  making  it 


more  tortuous  than  was  either  necessary  or  expedient.  It  is 
doubtful  whejther  the  politicians  of  New  England  ever  gave 
Mr.  Lincoln  the  credit  which  was  his  due  for  retaining  in  the 
Union  those  slave  states  which  never  left  their  allegiance.  An 
early  and  decided  war  policy  would  have  been  morally  certain 
to  drive  every  slave  state  into  the  confederacy,  except  Mary- 
land and  Delaware,  and  they  would  only  have  been  retained 
by  force. 

The  confederacy  found  that  it  must  make  progress  or  die. 
The  rebel  Congress  passed  a  measure  for  the  organization  of 
an  army,  on  the  ninth  of  March,  and  on  the  twelfth  two  con- 
federate commissioners — Mr.  Forsyth  of  Alabama  and  Mr. 
Crawford  of  Georgia — presented  themselves  at  the  State  De- 
partment at  Washington  for  the  purpose  of  making  a  treaty 
with  the  United  States.  They  knew,  of  course,  that  they 
could  not  be  received  officially,  and  that  they  ought  to  be  ar- 
rested for  treason.  The  President  would  not  recognize  them, 
but  sent  to  them  a  copy  of  his  Inaugural,  as  the  embodiment 
of  the  views  of  the  government.  The  commissioners  hung 
about  Washington  for  a  month,  learning  what  they  could,  and 
in  daily  communication  with  the  traitors  who  still  haunted  the 
confidence  of  the  heads  of  the  government.  Mr.  Seward's 
reply  to  them,  on  the  eighth  of  April,  was  delayed  at  their 
own  request  until  that  time,  and  when  it  came  they  probably 
knew  what  its  contents  and  character  would  be.  In  order  to 
give  secession  a  new  impetus,  they  wished,  in  some  way,  to 
throw  the  responsibility  of  beginning  war  upon  the  Washing- 
ton authorities,  and  to  make  it  appear  that  they  had  exhausted 
all  peaceable  measures  for  an  adjustment  of  the  difficulties. 

In  the  meantime,  Lieutenant  Talbot,  on  behalf  of  Mr.  Lin- 
coln, was  having  interviews  with  Governor  Pickens  of  South 
Carolina  and  with  General  Beauregard,  in  command  of  the 
confederate  forces  there,  in  which  he  informed  them  that  pro- 
visions would  be  sent  to  Fort  Sumter  peaceably  if  possible, — 
otherwise  by  force.  This  was  communicated  to  L.  P.  Walker, 
then  rebel  Secretary  of  War.  Before  Talbot  had  made  his 
communication,  Beauregard  had  informed  Major  Anderson, 


in  command  of  Fort  Sumter,  that  he  must  have  no  further 
intercourse  with  Charleston;  and  Talbot  himself  was  refused 
permission  to  visit  that  gallant  and  faithful  officer. 

These  were  very  dark  days  with  Mr.  Lincoln.  The  rebels 
were  determined  to  wrest  from  him  a  pretext  for  war — deter- 
mined to  make  him  take  a  step  which  could  be  made  to  appear 
to  be  the  first  step.  At  the  same  time,  he  was  making  rapid 
preparations  for  war,  all  of  which  must  be  kept  secret  from 
friends,  that  they  might  not  exasperate  foes.  The  loyal  press 
became  impatient  with  his  apparent  inactivity,  and  under  the 
inspiration  of  this  press  the  loyal  masses  became  uneasy. 
Under  these  circumstances,  there  were  not  wanting  disloyal 
men  in  the  North,  who  became  bold  in  the  entertainment  of 
schemes  for  a  revolution.  Mr.  Douglas  himself  did  not  sup- 
port the  administration,  although  he  had  publicly  declared  for 
coercion.  He  could  not  forget  his  hatred  of  the  republican 
party ;  and  was  ready  for  almost  any  scheme  for  its  destruc- 
tion. He  wished  to  organize  a  great  compromise  party, 
which  would  consent  to  the  reconstruction  of  the  Union,  with 
slavery  recognized  and  protected  in  all  its  departments.  Un- 
til the  first  overt  act  of  war  had  been  committed,  he  brought 

7  O 

no  aid  to  the  government. 

While  Mr.  Lincoln's  friends  were  clamoring  for  a  policy — 
as  if  he  had  not  a  very  decided  one — and  his  foes  north  and 
south  were  busy  with  their  schemes  for  the  destruction  of 
himself,  his  party  and  his  country,  he  was  performing  the 
most  exhausting  labors.  He  was  thronged  with  office-seekers, 
to  whose  claims  he  gave  his  personal  attention.  He  was  hold- 
ing protracted  cabinet  meetings.  He  was  in  almost  hourly 
intercourse  with  prominent  men  from  every  section  of  the 
country.  All  these  labors  he  was  performing  with  the  con- 
sciousness that  his  nominal  friends  were  doubtful,  that  seven 
states  were  in  open  revolt,  and  that  a  majority  throughout  the 
Union  had  not  the  slightest  sympathy  with  him. 

There  was  distraction,  also,  in  his  counsels.  Loyal  men, 
burning  with  patriotic  indignation,  were  demanding  that  Fort 
Sumter  should  be  reinforced  and  provisioned,  while  the  vet- 


eran  Lieutenant  General  was  advising  its  abandonment  as  a 
military  necessity.  The  wisdom  of  Mr.  Lincoln's  waiting 
became  evident  at  a  day  not  too  long  delayed.  Fort  Pickens, 
which  the  rebels  had  not  taken,  was  quietly  reinforced,  and 
when  the  vessels  which  carried  the  relief  were  dispatched, 
Mr.  Lincoln  gave  official  information  to  General  Beaureo-ard 

O  ^  O 

that  provisions  were  to  be  sent  to  Major  Anderson  in  Fort 
Sumter,  by  an  unarmed  vessel.  He  was  determined  that  no 
hostile  act  on  the  part  of  the  government  should  commence  the 
war,  for  which  both  sides  were  preparing ;  although  an  act  of 
open  war  had  already  transpired  in  Charleston  harbor,  for 
which  the  rebel  forces  were  responsible.  The  steamer  Star 
of  the  West,  loaded  with  troops  and  provisions  for  Major 
Anderson,  was  fired  upon  and  driven  out  of  the  harbor  two 
months  before  the  expiration  of  Mr.  Buchanan's  term  of  office. 
The  supplying  the  garrison  with  food  was  an  act  of  humanity, 
and  not  an  act  of  war,  except  as  it  might  be  so  construed. 

Beauregard  laid  this  last  intelligence  before  his  Secretary 
of  War,  and  under  special  instructions,  on  the  twelfth  of 
April,  he  demanded  the  surrender  of  Fort  Sumter.  He  was 
ready  to  make  the  demand,  and  to  back  it  by  force.  The  city 
of  Charleston  was  full  of  troops,  and,  for  months,  batteries 
had  been  in  course  of  construction,  with  the  special  purpose 
of  compelling  the  surrender  of  the  fort.  Major  Anderson 
had  seen  these  batteries  going  up,  day  after  day,  without  the 
liberty  to  fire  a  gun.  He  declined  to  surrender.  He  was 
called  upon  to  state  when  he  would  evacuate  the  fort.  He  re- 
plied that  on  the  fifteenth  he  would  do  so,  should  he  not  mean- 
time receive  controlling  instructions  from  the  government,  or 
additional  supplies.  The  response  which  he  received  was  that 
the  confederate  batteries  would  open  on  Fort  Sumter  in  one 
hour  from  the  date  of  the  message.  The  date  of  the  message 
was  "April  12,  1861,  3:30  A.  M."  Beauregard  was  true 
to  his  word.  At  half  past  four,  the  batteries  opened  upon  the 
fort,  which,  after  a  long  and  terrible  bombardment,  and  a  gal- 
lant though  comparatively  feeble  defense  by  a  small  and  half- 
starved  garrison,  was  surrendered  the  following  day. 


This  was  practically  the  initial  act  of  war.  Mr.  Lincoln, 
by  his  determined  forbearance,  had  thrown  the  onus  of  its 
commencement  upon  the  rebel  government.  Never  by  word, 
or  deed,  or  declared  or  concealed  intention,  had  he  wronged 
the  South,  or  denied  its  rights  under  the  Constitution.  By  no 
hostile  act  had  he  provoked  war.  From  the  time  he  had  first 
opened  his  lips  as  President  of  the  United  States,  he  had 
breathed  none  but  pacific  words.  He  had  claimed  the  least 
that  he  could  claim  for  the  government,  and  still  preserve  a 
show  of  right  and  power.  Upon  the  heads  of  the  conspirators 
rested  every  particle  of  responsibility  for  the  beginning  of  the 
war,  and  the  train  of  horrors  that  followed.  The  rebellion 
was  conceived  in  perjury,  brought  forth  in  violence,  cradled 
in  ignorance,  and  reared  upon  spoil.  It  never  had  an  apology 
for  existence  that  will  be  entertained  for  a  moment  at  the  bar 
of  history.  It  never  was  anything  from  its  birth  to  its  death 
but  a  crime — a  crime  against  Christianity,  against  patriotism, 
against  humanity,  against  civilization,  against  progress,  against 
personal  and  political  honor,  against  the  people  who  were 
forced  to  support  it,  against  the  people  who  voluntarily  put  it 
down,  and  against  that  God  to  whom  it  blasphemously  appealed 
for  justification,  and  arrogantly  prayed  for  success. 

The  fall  of  Sumter  was  the  resurrection  of  patriotism.  The 
North  needed  just  this.  Such  a  universal  burst  of  patriotic 
indignation  as  ran  over  the  North  under  the  influence  of  this 
insult  to  the  national  flag  has  never  been  witnessed.  It  swept 
away  all  party  lines  as  if  it  had  been  flame  and  they  had  been 
flax.  No  combination  of  moral  influences  could  thus  have 
united  in  one  feeling  and  purpose  the  elements  which  the  fire 
from  those  batteries  welded  into  a  burning  union.  All  dis- 
loyalty was  silenced.  Compromise  was  a  word  that  had  no 
significance.  "Coercion" — a  word  which  had  had  a  fearful 
meaning  among  the  timid — lost  its  terrors.  There  was  a  uni- 
versal desire,  all  over  the  North,  to  avenge  the  foul  insult.  It 
was  worth  a  life-time  of  indifference  or  discord  to  feel  and  to 
see  a  nation  thus  once  more  united  in  thought  and  purpose, 
and  to  realize  that  underneath  all  divisions  of  party  and  sect, 


and  deeper  down  than  selfish  interest  and  personal  prejudice, 
there  was  a  love  of  country  which  made  us  a  nation. 

Now  was  the  time  for  Mr.  Lincoln  to  act.  Up  to  this  date 
he  had  had  no  basis  for  action  in  the  popular  feeling.  If  he 
had  raised  an  army,  that  would  have  been  an  act  of  hostility — 
that  would  have  been  a  threat  of  "coercion."  A  thousand 
northern  presses  would  have  pounced  upon  him  as  a  provoker 
of  war.  On  the  fifteenth  of  April  he  issued  a  proclamation, 
calling  upon  the  loyal  states  for  seventy-five  thousand  men  to 
protect  the  national  capital,  and  suppress  such  combinations 
as  had  been  made  to  resist  the  inforcement  of  the  laws  of  the 
United  States.  "I  appeal"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  in  this  procla- 
mation, "to  all  loyal  citizens  to  favor,  facilitate  and  aid  this 
effort  to  maintain  the  honor,  the  integrity  and  existence  of  our 
national  Union,  and  the  perpetuity  of  popular  government, 
and  to  redress  the  wrongs  already  long  enough  endured." 
The  first  service,  he  stated,  to  which  the  forces  thus  called  for 
would  be  subjected  would  be  to  repossess  the  forts,  places  and 
property  taken  from  the  Union  by  the  rebels.  By  the  same 
proclamation  he  convened  both  Houses  of  Congress  to  assem- 
ble on  the  fourth  of  July. 

The  utterance  of  this  proclamation  was  so  clearly  a  necessity, 
and  was  so  directly  a  response  to  the  uprising  of  the  people, 
that  not  a  voice  was  raised  against  it.  It  was  received  with 
no  small  degree  of  excitement,  but  it  was  a  healthy  excite- 
ment. It  was  a  necessity;  and  loyal  men  everywhere  felt 
that  the  great  struggle  between  slavery  and  the  country  was 
upon  them.  "  Better  that  it  should  be  settled  by  us  than  by 
our  children,"  said  men,  everywhere ;  and  in  their,  self-devo- 
tion they  were  encouraged  by  their  mothers,  sisters  and  wives. 
The  South  knew  that  war  must  come,  and  they  were  prepared. 
Nearly  all  the  southern  forts  were  already  in  their  hands. 
They  had  robbed  the  northern  arsenals  through  the  miscreant 
Floyd.  They  had  cut  off  the  payment  of  all  debts  due  the 
North.  They  had  ransacked  the  mails,  so  that  the  government 
could  have  no  communication  with  its  friends  and  forces. 
They  had  been  instructing  officers  for  years,  and  drilling 


troops  for  months.  They  knew  that  there  were  not  arms 
enough  in  the  North  to  furnish  an  army  competent  to  overcome 
them.  When,  therefore,  Mr.  Lincoln  called  for  his  seventy- 
five  thousand  men,  they  met  the  proclamation  with  a  howl  of 

Massachusetts  was  the  first  state  to  respond  to  the  call  for 
troops.  Governor  Andrew,  a  devoted  friend  of  the  adminis- 
tration, acted  as  promptly  then  in  the  support  of  the  govern- 
ment as  he  afterwards  labored  with  efficient  persistence  in  the 
destruction  of  the  rebellion;  but  the  credit  of  having  the 
troops  ready  for  motion  and  action  was  due  mainly  to  the  fore- 
sight of  Governor  N.  P.  Banks,  afterwards  a  Major  General 
in  the  federal  service.  He  was  Governor  Andrew's  prede- 
cessor ;  and  three  years  before  the  breaking  out  of  the  rebel- 
lion declared,  when  rallied  on  his  devotion  to  the  military,  that 
the  troops  would  be  called  upon  within  a  few  years  to  suppress 
a  slaveholders'  rebellion.  The  prediction  seemed  very  wild 
then,  and  probably  would  never  have  been  recalled  but  for  its 
exact  fulfillment.  The  troops  which  he  had  made  ready,  Gov- 
ernor Andrew,  coming  after  him,  promptly  dispatched. 

The  moral  effect  of  the  marching  of  the  Massachusetts 
Sixth  was  very  great.  The  hearts  of  the  people  were  stirred 
all  along  their  route  by  the  most  powerful  emotions.  They 
were  fed  and  applauded  at  every  considerable  station.  Wo- 
men thronged  around  the  cars,  bringing  to  them  their  Bibles 
and  other  gifts,  and  giving  them  their  tearful  blessing.  New 
York  city  was  much  impressed  by  their  sturdy  march  through 
the  great  metropolis.  It  was  a  new  sensation.  Men  forgot 
their  counting-rooms  and  ware-houses,  and  gave  themselves 
up  to  the  emotions  excited  by  so  prompt  and  gallant  an  exhi- 
bition of  patriotism.  But  the  tramp  of  the  Sixth  awoke  the 
young  men  everywhere  to  deeds  of  emulation.  Within  forty- 
eight  hours  after  this  regiment  left  Boston,  two  more  regi- 
ments had  been  made  ready,  and  were  dispatched.  On  its 
way  through  Baltimore,  the  Sixth  Regiment  was  attacked  by 
a  mob,  carrying  a  secession  flag,  and  several  of  its  members 
killed  and  wounded.  This  outrage  added  new  fuel  to  the  fire. 


The  North  was  growing  angry.  The  idea  that  a  loyal  regi- 
ment could  not  pass  through  a  nominally  loyal  city,  on  its 
way  to  protect  the  national  capital,  without  fighting  its  way 
through,  aroused  a  storm  of  indignation  that  swept  over  the 
whole  of  loyal  America. 

Governor  Hicks  of  Maryland  and  Mayor  Brown  of  Balti- 
more were  frightened.  They  did  not  wish  to  have  any  more 
troops  taken  through  Baltimore.  Mr.  Lincoln  assured  them 
that  he  made  no  point  of  bringing  troops  through  that  city, 
and  that  he  left  the  matter  with  General  Scott,  who  had  said 
in  his  presence  that  the  troops  might  be  marched  around  Bal- 
timore. By  this  arrangement  a  collision  with  the  people  of 
Baltimore  would  be  avoided,  unless  they  should  go  out  of  the 
way  to  seek  it.  "Now  and  ever,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  in  closing 
a  note  to  these  gentlemen,  "I  shall  do  all  in  my  power  for 
peace,  consistently  with  the  maintenance  of  the  government." 

Governor  Hicks  wished  the  quarrel  between  the  North  and 
South  referred  to  Lord  Lyons,  the  British  minister,  for  arbi- 
tration. To  this  Mr.  Seward,  speaking  for  the  President,  made 
a  most  admirable  reply,  stating  that  whatever  noble  sentiments, 
once  prevalent  in  Maryland,  had  been  obliterated,  the  Presi- 
dent would  be  hopeful,  nevertheless,  that  there  is  one  that 
would  forever  remain  there  and  everywhere.  That  sentiment 
is  that  no  domestic  contention  whatever,  that  may  arise  among 
the  parties  of  this  republic,  ought,  in  any  case,  to  be  referred 
to  any  foreign  arbitrament — least  of  all  to  the  arbitrament  of 
a  foreign  monarchy." 

Governor  Hicks  occupied,  without  doubt,  a  difficult  posi- 
tion. Out  of  ninety-two  thousand  votes  cast  at  the  presiden- 
tial election,  only  a  little  more  than  two  thousand  had  been 
cast  for  Mr.  Lincoln.  More  than  forty-two  thousand  votes 
had  been  given  for  Mr.  Breckinridge,  and  almost  an  equal 
number  for  John  Bell.  Maryland  was  a  southern  slave-hold- 
ing state,  and  the  sympathies  of  four  persons  in  every  five 
were  with  the  rebellion.  His  people  threatened  him,  while 
the  government  would  have  its  troops,  and  insisted  that  they 
should  pass  through  Maryland. 


After  the  passage  of  the  Massachusetts  Sixth,  the  mob  had 
control.  They  burnt  the  bridges  north  of  Baltimore,  so  as  to 
cut  off  the  means  of  access  to  the  city ;  and  then,  against  the 
protests  of  the  governor,  the  troops  were  forwarded  by  way 
of  Annapolis. 

Four  days  after  Mr.  Lincoln's  call  for  troops — on  the  day 
of  the  bloody  passage  of  the  Massachusetts  Sixth  through 
Baltimore — he  issued  a  proclamation  declaring  a  blockade  of 
the  ports  of  South  Carolina,  Georgia,  Alabama,  Florida,  Mis- 
sissippi, Louisiana  and  Texas.  This  call  for  troops  and  the 
establishment  of  a  blockade  were  the  preliminaries  of  one  of 
the  most  remarkable  wars  that  have  occurred  in  the  history 
of  the  human  race — a  war  which,  for  the  number  of  men  in- 
volved, the  amount  of  spaces  traversed,  of  coast  line  block- 
aded, of  material  consumed  and  results  achieved,  surpasses 
all  the  wars  of  history. 

The  South  had  calculated  upon  the  disloyalty  of  Maryland. 
Nay,  more,  it  had  calculated  on  the  assistance  of  a  large 
party  at  the  North,  It  did  not  intend  to  be  confined  in  its 
warlike  operations  to  its  own  territory.  Northern  politicians, 
and  among  them  ex-President  Pierce,  had  told  them  it  would 
not  be.  It  expected  to  take  and  hold  Washington,  and  to  banish 
the  government ;  and  Maryland  had  an  important  part  to  play 
in  the  drama.  Jefferson  Davis  had  openly  declared  that  the 
North  and  not  the  South  should  be  the  field  of  battle.  The 
rebel  Secretary  of  War  said  publicly  in  Montgomery  that 
while  no  man  could  tell  where  the  war  would  end,  he  would 
prophesy  that  the  flag  which  then  flaunted  the  breeze  at  Mont- 
gomery would  float  over  the  dome  of  the  old  capitol  at  Wash- 
ington before  the  first  of  May;  and  that  it  "might  float 
eventually  over  Fanueil  Hall  itself."  To  make  good  these 
predictions,  the  rebel  government  organized  and  sent  toward 
Virginia,  a  force  of  20,000  men,  calculating  upon  the  secession 
of  Arirginia  which  had  not  then  joined  the  confederacy,  and 
which,  left  to  the  popular  choice,  never  would  have  taken  that 
fatal  step. 

The  attitude  of  the  two  governments  at  this  period  j»re- 


sented  a  strong  contrast — a  most  instructive  contrast  to  all 
who  are  curious  to  mark  the  respective  degrees  of  responsi- 
bility attaching  to  them  for  the  war  which  followed.  The 
confederate  forces,  or  the  state  forces  in  the  confederate. inter- 
est, had  seized  and  occupied  nearly  every  fort,  arsenal  and 
dock-yard  belonging  to  the  United  States,  upon  the  southern 
territory.  The  rebel  government  had  opened  its  batteries 
upon  United  States  vessels,  and  had  bombarded  and  captured 
Fort  Sumter.  It  had  issued  letters  of  marque  to  distress  our 
commerce.  It  was  engaged  in  the  attempt  to  force  every  bor- 
der slave  state  into  the  support  of  its  schemes.  It  was  push- 
ing its  soldiers  northward  for  a  war  of  aggression;  and  its 
highest  representatives  were  publicly  boasting  that  their  flag 
would  soon  float  over  the  capitol  at  Washington,  and  that  the 
war  should  not  be  carried  on  upon  confederate  soil.  The  at- 
titude of  the  rebel  government  was  that  of  direct,  bitter,  de- 
termined, aggressive  hostility. 

Virginia  at  this  time  was  holding  a  state  convention  which,  to 
the  dismay  and  vexation  of  the  rebel  leaders,  was  controlled  by 
a  large  majority  of  Union  men.  Nothing  is  more  demonstrable 
than  that  the  choice  of  Virginia  was  to  remain  in  the  Union. 
These  delegates  were  chosen  as  Union  men ;  yet  every  possi- 
ble influence  was  brought  to  bear  upon  them  to  cajole  or  co- 
erce them  into  disunion.  Threats,  misrepresentations,  prom- 
ises of  power,  social  proscription,  appeals  to  personal  and  sec- 
tional interest,  everything  that  treasonable  ingenuity  could 
suggest  were  resorted  to  to  urge  the  laggard  state  into  the 
vortex  of  secession.  The  fall  of  Sumter,  the  inaugural  of 
President  Lincoln  and  the  failure  of  the  confederate  com- 
missioners to  secure  a  treaty  were  used  in  different  ways  to 
inflame  southern  pride,  and  loosen  the  love  of  the  loyal 
members  from  the  old  Union.  The  President's  Inaugural  had 
been  so  misconstrued  as  to  convey  the  idea  that  his  policy  was 
one  of  coercion;  and  the  convention  sent  a  committee  to  Mr. 
Lincoln,  commissioned  to  ask  him  to  communicate  to  the  con- 
vention the  policy  which  the  federal  executive  intended  to 
pursue,  in  regard  to  the  confederate  states,  complaining  that 


great  and  injurious  uncertainty  prevailed  in  the  public  mind 
in  regard  to  this  policy. 

To  this  request  Mr.  Lincoln  gave  a  formal  answer ;  and  in 
this  answer  appears  the  contrast  to  which  attention  has  been 
called.  He  expressed  his  regret  and  mortification  that,  after 
having  stated  his  position  and  policy  as  plainly  as  he  was  able 
to  state  it  in  his  inaugural  address,  there  should  be  any  uncer- 
tainty on  the  subject.  "As  I  then  and  therein  said,"  the 
reply  proceeds,  " '  the  power  confided  in  me  will  be  used  to 
hold,  occupy  and  possess  property  and  places  belonging  to 
the  government,  and  to  collect  duties  and  imposts;  but,  be- 
yond what  is  necessary  for  these  objects,  there  will  be  no 
invasion,  no  using  of  force  against,  or  among,  people  any- 
where.'" Fort  Sumter,  he  declared  it  his  purpose  to  repos- 
sess, with  all  the  other  places  seized  from  the  government, 
and  to  the  best  of  his  ability  he  should  repel  force  by  force. 
In  consequence  of  the  attack  on  Sumter,  it  was  possible  that 
he  should  cause  the  withdrawal  of  the  mails  from  the  states 
which  claimed  to  have  seceded.  He  closed  by  reiterating  the 
claim  of  the  government  upon  the  military  posts  and  property 
which  had  been  seized,  and  by  stating  that,  whatever  else  he 
might  do  for  the  purpose,  he  should  not  "attempt  to  collect 
the  duties  and  imposts  by  any  armed  invasion  of  any  part  of 
the  country,"  not  meaning  by  that,  however,  to  cut  himself 
off  from  the  liberty  to  land  a  force  necessary  to  relieve  a  fort 
upon  the  border  of  the  country. 

On  one  side  was  rampant  treason  and  a  policy  of  aggressive 
war ;  on  the  other,  patient  forbearance,  and  the  most  consider- 
ate care  not  to  take  any  step  not  absolutely  necessary  to  the 
maintenance  of  the  indisputable  rights  of  the  government. 
No  man  in  the  United  States  who  pretended  to  be  loyal  could 
find  fault  with  Mr.  Lincoln  for  claiming  too  much,  or  being 
harsh  with  those  "erring  sisters"  who,  it  was  believed  by 
many,  might  be  gently  led  back  to  their  allegiance. 

On  the  seventeenth  of  April,  Virginia  went  out  of  the 
Union  by  a  convention  vote  of  eighty-eight  to  fifty-five ;  and 
on  the  twenty-first  of  May  the  confederate  capital  was  trans- 


ferrccl  to   Richmond.      Thenceforth  Virginia   went    straight 

o  o 

toward  desolation.  Its  "sacred  soil"  was  from  that  hour 
devoted  to  trenches,  Fortifications,  battle-fields,  military  roads, 
camps  and  graves. 

The  conciliatory  policy  of  Mr.  Lincoln  had  threatened  the 
ruin  of  the  confederacy ;  but  the  confederacy  made  war,  and 
then  appealed  to  the  border  states  for  sympathy  and  help. 
Governor  Pickens  of  South  Carolina  telegraphed  the  fall  of 
Sumter  to  the  Governor  of  Virginia,  and  appealed  to  Virginia 
to  know  what  she  was  going  to  do.  This  was  the  policy — to 
precipitate  war,  and  then  appeal  to  sectional  pride  and  interest 
for  sectional  assistance.  The  first  practical  show  of  sectional 
feeling  on  the  part  of  the  border  states  was  contained  in  the 
angry  and  insulting  responses  which  they  returned  to  Mr. 
Lincoln's  call  for  troops.  These  responses  exhibited  the  sym- 
pathies of  their  Governors,  at  least.  Tennessee,  Xorth  Caro- 
lina and  Arkansas  followed  Virginia  out  of  the  Union,  and 
thus  the  confederate  cause  made  the  gain  it  sought. 

At  the  North  and  West  the  response  to  the  President's  call 
for  soldiers  was  rendered  with  enthusiastic  alacrity,  the  states 
vieing  with  each  other  in  the  office  of  raising,  fitting  out  and 
dispatching  troops.  Money  was  offered  to  the  government  by 
millions,  and  the  President  found  that  he  had  a  basis  for  a 
policy  in  the  national  feeling.  After  a  week  of  great  anxiety, 
Washington  was  relieved ;  and  while  troops  from  the  Xorth 
were  rushing  southward,  a  still  larger  number  from  the  South 
were  pushing  northward  in  preparation  for  the  grand  struggle. 

One  of  the  most  encouraging  incidents  of  this  opening 
chapter  of  the  war  was  a  visit  of  Mr.  Douglas  to  Mr.  Lin- 
coln, in  which  the  former  gave  to  the  latter  the  assurance  of 
his  sympathy  and  support  in  the  war  for  the  preservation  of 
the  Union.  It  is  to  be  remembered  that  Mr.  Douglas  was  an 
ambitious  man,  that  he  was  a  strong  party  man,  that  he  had 
battled  for  power  with  all  the  persistence  of  a  strong  and  de- 
termined nature,  and  that  he  was  a  sadly  disappointed  man. 
The  person  with  whom  he  had  had  his  hardest  fights  occupied 
the  chair  to  which  he  had  for  many  years  aspired. 


On  Sunday,  the  fourteenth  of  April,  all  Washington  was 
alive  with  excitement  under  the  effect  of  the  news  of  the  fall 
of  Sumter.  Secessionists  could  not  conceal  their  joy,  and 
the  loyal  were  equally  sad  and  indignant.  Churches  were 
forsaken,  and  the  opening  of  the  war  was  the  only  topic  of 
thought  and  conversation.  Under  these  circumstances,  Hon. 
George  Ashmun  of  Massachusetts,  who  was  personally  on  the 
most  friendly  terms  with  Mr.  Lincoln  and  Mr.  Douglas,  called 
on  the  latter  in  the  evening,  to  obtain  from  him  some  public 
declaration  that  should  help  the  government  in  its  extremity. 
He  found  the  Senator  surrounded  by  political  friends,  who 
were  soon  dismissed,  and  then,  for  an  hour,  the  two  men  dis- 
cussed the  relations  of  Mr.  Douglas  to  the  administration. 
The  first  impulse  of  the  Senator  was  against  Mr.  Ashmun's 
wishes,  who  desired  him  to  go  to  the  President  at  once,  and  tell 
him  he  would  sustain  him  in  all  the  needful  measures  which 
the  exigency  demanded.  His  reply  was:  "Mr.  Lincoln  has 
dealt  hardly  with  me,  in  removing  some  of  my  friends  from 
office,  and  I  don't  know  as  he  wants  my  advice  or  aid."  Mr. 
Ashmun  remarked  that  he  had  probably  followed  democratic 
precedents  in  making  removals,  but  that  the  present  question 
was  above  party,  and  that  it  was 'now  in  the  power  of  Mr. 
Douglas  to  render  such  a  service  to  his  country  as  would  not 
only  give  him  a  title  to  its  lasting  gratitude,  but  would  show 
that  in  the  hour  of  his  country's  need  he  could  trample  all 
party  considerations  and  resentments  under  feet.  At  this 
juncture,  Mrs.  Douglas  came  in,  and  gave  the  whole  weight 
of  her  affectionate  influence  in  the  direction  in  which  Mr., 
Ashmun  was  endeavoring  to  lead  him.  He  could  not  with- 
stand the  influence  of  his  friend,  his  wife,  and  that  better  na- 
ture to  which  they  appealed.  He  gave  up  all  his  enmity,  all 
his  resentment,  cast  every  unworthy  sentiment  and  selfish 
feeling  behind  him,  and  cordially  declared  his  willingness  to 
go  to  Mr.  Lincoln,  and  offer  him  his  earnest  and  hearty  sup- 

It  was  nearly  dark  when  the  two  gentlemen  started  for  the 
President's  house.     Mr.  Lincoln  was  alone,   and  on  learning 


their,  errand  gave  them  a  most  cordial  welcome.  For  once, 
the  life-long  antagonists  were  united  in  heart  and  purpose. 
Mr.  Lincoln  took  up  the  proclamation,  calling  for  seventy-rive 
thousand  troops,  which  he  had  determined  to  issue  the  next 
day,  and  read  it.  When  he  had  finished,  Mr.  Douglas  rose 
from  his  chair  and  said :  "  Mr.  President,  I  cordially  concur 
in  every  word  of  that  document,  except  that  instead  of  the 
call  for  seventy-five  thousand  men  I  would  make  it  two  hund- 
red thousand.  You  do  not  know  the  dishonest  purposes  of 
those  men  as  well  as  I  do."  Then  he  asked  the  President 
and  Mr.  Ashmun  to  look  at  a  map  of  the  United  States  which 
hung  at  one  end  of  the  room.  On  this  he  pointed  out,  in 
detail,  the  principal  strategic  points  which  should  be  at  once 
strengthened  for  the  coming  contest.  Among  the  more  prom- 
inent of  these  were  Fortress  Monroe,  Washington,  Harper's 
Ferry  and  Cairo.  He  then  enlarged  upon  the  firm,  warlike 
course  which  should  be  pursued,  while  Mr.  Lincoln  listened 
with  earnest  interest,  and  the  two  old  foes  parted  that  night 
thorough  friends,  perfectly  united  in  a  patriotic  purpose. 

After  leaving  the  President,  Mr.  Ashmun  said  to  Mr.  Doug- 
las: "You  have  done  justice  to  your  own  reputation  and  to 
the  President ;  and  the  country  must  know  it.  The  procla- 
mation will  go  by  telegraph  all  over  the  country  in  the  morn- 
ing, and  the  account  of  this  interview  must  go  with  it.  I 
shall  send  it,  either  in  my  own  language  or  yours.  I  prefer 
that  you  should  give  your  own  version."  Mr.  Douglas  said 
he  would  write  it ;  and  so  the  dispatch  went  with  the  message 
wherever  the  telegraph  would  carry  it,  confirming  the  waver- 
ing of  his  own  party,  and  helping  to  raise  the  tide  of  loyal 
feeling,  among  all  parties  and  classes,  to  its  flood.  The  dis- 
patch, the  original  of  which  Mr.  Ashmun  still  retains,  was  as 
follows : 

"Mr.  Douglas  called  on  the  President  this  evening,  and  had  an  inter- 
esting conversation  on  the  present  condition  of  the  country.  The  sub- 
stance of  the  conversation  was  that  while  Mr.  Douglas  was  unalterably 
opposed  to  the  administration  on  all  its  political  issues,  he  was  prepared 
to  sustain  the  President  in  the  exercise  of  all  his  constitutional  functions 


to  preserve  the  Union,  and  maintain  the  government  and  defend  the 
federal  capital.  A  firm  policy  and  prompt  action  were  necessary.  The 
capital  of  our  country  was  in  danger  and  must  be  defended  at  all  haz- 
ards, and  at  any  expense  of  men  or  money,  lie  spoke  of  the  present 
and  future  without  reference  to  the  past." 

The  writer  of  the  life  of  Mr.  Lincoln  and  the  chronicler  of 
the  rebellion  will  find  few  more  delightful  tasks  than  that  of 
recording  the  unwearied  devotion  of  Mr.  Douglas  to  the  cause 
of  his  country  during  the  brief  remainder  of  his  life.  He 
was  done  w,ith  his  dreams  of  power,  done  with  the  thought 
that  compromise  would  save  the  country,  and  done,  for  the 
time  at  least,  with  schemes  for  party  aggrandizement.  Six 
days  after  his  interview  with  Mr.  Lincoln  he  was  on  his  way 
home,  and  at  Bellair,  Ohio,  he  was  called  out  to  make  a 
speech.  All  parties  received  him  with  the  greatest  enthusi- 
asm, and  every  word  he  uttered  had  the  genuine  ring  of  pa- 
triotism. Subsequently  he  addressed  the  legislature  of  Illinois, 
at  Springfield,  and  his  own  fellow-citizens  at  Chicago.  The 
old  party  talk  and  the  old  party  policy  were  all  forgotten,  and 
only  the  sturdy,  enthusiastic  patriot  spoke.  In  one  of  the 
last  letters  he  ever  wrote  he  said:  "We  should  never  forget 
that  a  man  cannot  be  a  true  democrat  unless  he  is  a  loyal  pa- 
triot." In  May  he  became  sick,  and  on  the  third  of  June  he 
died.  In  the  low  delirium  that  attended  his  disease  he  talked 
of  nothing  but  his  country,  and  almost  his  last  coherent  words 
were  shaped  to  a  wish  for  its  honor  and  prosperity,  through 
the  defeat  and  dispersion  of  its  enemies. 

Mr.  Lincoln  felt  his  death  as  a  calamity.  He  had  been  of 
great  service  to  him  in  unveiling  the  designs  of  the  rebels,  and 
in  bringing  to  the  support  of  the  government  an  element  which 
a  word  from  him  at  a  favorable  moment  would  have  alienated. 
He  freely  said  that  he  regarded  Mr.  Douglas  as  one  of  his 
best  and  most  valuable  friends. 

To  those  who  are  curious  in  marking  strange  coincidences, 
it  will  be  interesting  to  remember  that  just  four  years  to  an 
hour  after  Mr.  Douglas  parted  with  Mr.  Lincoln,  at  the  close 
of  the  interview  that  has  been  described,  Mr.  Lincoln  was 


slam  by  an  assassin.  Both  died  with  a  common  purpose  up- 
permost in  their  minds,  one  in  the  threatening  morning  of  the 
rebellion,  and  the  other  when  its  sun  had  just  set  in  blood ; 
and  both  sleep  in  the  dust  of  that  magnificent  state  almost 
every  rod  of  which,  within  a  quarter  of  a  century,  had  echoed 
to  their  contending  voices  as  they  expounded  their  principles 
to  the  people. 


TITE  emergency  which  the  rebellion  forced  upon  the  gov- 
ernment found  that  government  no  less  prepared  to  meet  it 
than  it  found  the  loyal  people  of  the  country  wanting  in  mili- 
tary knowledge  and  experience.  The  people  were  so  eager 
to  furnish  men  and  supplies  that  they  at  once  became  impa- 
tient for  results.  Ko  one  among  them  seemed  to  doubt  that 
the  rebellion  might  be  crushed  in  a  few  months,  at  most. 
They  did  not  comprehend  the  almost  infinite  detail  of  a  war. 
Patience  was  a  virtue  which  it  took  four  years  to  teach  them; 
and  when  every  man  connected  with  the  government  was 
making  all  the  efforts  possible  to  forward  the  preparations  for 
the  struggle,  the  popular  press — meaning  well,  but  much  mis- 
apprehending the  difficulties  of  the  situation — were  already 
finding  fault  with  the  tardiness  of  operations.  They  had  ap- 
parently forgotten  how  long  it  took  to  bring  the  Mexican  war 
to  a  successful  termination ; — indeed,  they  stood  in  a  very  differ- 
ent relation  to  this  war  from  that  which  they  had  held  toward 
the  Mexican  war.  That  was  a  war  of  the  government  against 
another  power;  this  was  a  war  of  their  own,  against  domestic 
traitors  who  sought  to  overthrow  the  government.  Every 
loyal  man  had  a  direct  interest  in  the  war;  and  he  judged 
every  movement  and  every  delay  as  if  it  were  his  own  private 
enterprise.  There  were  inconveniences  in  this;  but,  in  this 
universal  personal  interest,  lay  the  secret  of  those  four  years 
of  popular  devotion  to  the  war  which  so  astonished  the  ob- 
servers of  other  lands,  and  made  ultimate  victory,  under 
Providence,  a  certainty  from  the  first. 


This  popular  impatience  was,  during  the  first  two  or  three 
years  of  the  war,  one  of  the  serious  difficulties  with  which 
the  administration  had  to  deal.  It  had  its  advantages  in  hold- 
ing to  vigilance  and  industry  all  who  were  in  responsible  po- 
sitions, but  it  had  disadvantages  in  sometimes  compelling  pre- 
cipitancy of  action,  and  in  breeding  in  the  administration  the 
idea  that  the  people  were  to  be  managed  like  children  whose 
food  should  be  carefully  prepared  in  the  departments  when- 
ever it  was  administered,  or  carefully  withheld  when  their 
stomachs  were  not  able  to  receive  it.  This  idea  of  the  people 
was  not  born  in  the  White  House.  Mr.  Lincoln  had  a  pro- 
found respect  for  the  people,  and  never  had  any  sympathy  with 
efforts  which  aimed  to  make  them  instruments  in  the  hands 
of  the  government,  or  which  ignored  the  fact  that  they  were 
the  source  of  all  his  power. 

During  the  latter  part  of  April,  certain  important  military 
operations  were  effected.  Washington,  the  safety  of  which 
was  the  first  consideration,  was  relieved  from  immediate  dan- 
ger; Fortress  Monroe,  commanding  the  water  gateway  of 
Virginia,  was  reinforced  and  held ;  the  government  works  at 
Harper's  Ferry  were  blown  up  and  burned  by  Lieutenant 
Jones,  in  command  of  a  company  of  regulars,  moved  by  the 
intelligence  of  an  advance  of  a  large  confederate  force ;  Cairo, 
Illinois,  an  important  strategic  point  at  the  confluence  of  the 
Ohio  and  the  Mississippi  rivers,  had  been  occupied  by  gov- 
ernment forces,  and  the  blockade  was  extended  so  as  to  em- 
brace the  states  of  Virginia  and  North  Carolina.  Then  began 
organization.  On  the  twenty-seventh  of  April,  Adjutant 
General  Thomas  made  the  following  announcement  of  new 
military  departments:  First,  The  military  department  of 
Washington,  including  the  District  of  Columbia,  according  to 
its  original  boundary,  Fort  Washington  and  the  adjacent  coun- 
try, and  the  state  of  Maryland  as  far  as  Bladensburgh,  to  be 
nnder  the  charge  of  Colonel  Mansfield,  with  head-quarters  at 
Washington.  Second,  The  department  of  Annapolis,  head- 
quarters at  that  city,  and  including  the  country  for  twenty 
miles  on  either  side  of  the  railroad  between  Annapolis  and 


Washington,  under  command  of  General  B.  F.  Butler,  of  the 
Massachusetts  volunteers.  Third,  The  department  of  Penn- 
sylvania, including  that  state,  Delaware  and  all  of  Maryland 
not  included  in  the  other  departments  already  mentioned,  and 
with  Major  General  Patterson  in  command.  The  extension 
of  the  department  of  Washington  to  the  old  limits  of  the  dis- 
trict was  for  the  purpose  of  including  territory  absolutely 
necessary  for  the  defense  of  the  capital. 

On  the  following  tenth  of  May,  another  department  was 
added  to  this  list,  including  the  states  of  Ohio,  Indiana  and 
Illinois,  under  the  charge  of  General  George  B.  McClellan, 
The  object  of  this  department  was  to  maintain  a  defensive 
line  on  the  Ohio  Kiver  from  Wheeling  to  Cairo. 

On  the  twenty-ninth  of  April,  Jefferson  Davis  convened  his 
Congress  at  Montgomery,  and  sent  them  a  message  which 
was  intended  to  be  a  justification  of  himself  and  his  cause, 
before  the  country  and  the  world.  It  was  a  document  of  rare 
ability,  in  its  plausible  presentation  of  the  favorite  southern 
doctrine  of  state  rights,  and  its  rehearsal  of  the  pretended 
wrongs  which  the  South  had  suffered  at  the  hands  of  the 
North.  It  must  have  made  a  profound  impression  upon  the 
great  multitude  of  minds  ready  to  receive  it  among  his  own 
people,  and  upon  statesmen  abroad  who,  from  the  first  opening 
of  the  American  difficulties,  manifested  a  strange  ignorance 
of  the  genius  and  structure  of  American  institutions. 

It  is  interesting  to  notice  here  the  attempt  on  the  part,  both 
of  Mr.  Lincoln  and  Mr.  Davis,  to  argue  the  rightfulness  of 
their  respective  positions,  in  a  great  number  of  their  state  pa- 
pers. Mr.  Lincoln's  old  intellectual  struggle  with  Mr.  Doug- 
las had  ceased,  and  Jefferson  Davis  was  now  his  antagonist — 
a  man  of  higher  culture  and  deeper  character. 

Mr.  Davis,  in  his  message,  assumed  the  role  of  the  wronged 
party.  Notwithstanding  the  fact  that  he  had  seized  all  the 
property  of  the  United  States  upon  which  he  could  lay  his 
hands,  and  had,  by  bombardment,  compelled  the  surrender  of 
Fort  Sumter,  he  tried  to  shift  the  burden  of  opening  the  war 
upon  Mr.  Lincoln,  whose  call  for  troops,  weeks  after  a  con* 


federate  army  was  on  its  feet  and  actively  gathering  numbers, 
was  the  pretended  cause  of  the  convening  of  the  rebel  Con- 
gress. In  this  very  message,  indeed,  he  announces  that  there 
were  already  nineteen  thousand  men  in  different  forts,  and 
that  sixteen  thousand  were  on  their  way  to  Virginia. 

In  the  doctrine  of  state  rights  was  the  only  justification  of 
the  rebellion;  and  it  was  necessary  that  Mr.  Davis  should 
labor  to  establish  it.  AVith  him,  a  state  was  greater  than  the 
United  States.  The  state  was  sovereign,  and  the  Union  was 
essentially  subject.  Whenever,  therefore,  any  state  should 
have  a  plausible  pretext  for  dissolving  its  union  with  other 
states,  it  had  a  right  to  do  so.  Mr.  Davis  did  not  stop  to 
consider  that  he  could  not  establish  a  government  on  any  such 
basis  as  this,  and  that  the  doctrine  of  state  rights  would,  in 
the  end,  be  just  as  fatal  to  his  confederacy  as  he  was  endeav- 
oring to  make  it  to  the  United  States.  On  the  other  hand, 
Mr.  Lincoln  held  the  Union  sovereign  and  the  state  subject. 
A  state  had  no  right  to  coerce  a  nation  into  dissolution',  any 
more  than  a  county  had  a  right  to  force  a  state  into  dissolution. 
He  maintained  that  the  United  States  were*  a  nation,  one  and 
indivisible,  and  that  any  attempt  to  dissolve  it  on  the  part  of 
a  state,  or  a  combination  of  states,  was  treason.  Here  was 
where  the  Union  and  the  new  confederacy  separated.  The 
confederacy  was  a  logical  result  of  the  doctrine  of  state  rights, 
and  its  destruction,  by  all  the  power  of  the  federal  government, 
was  the  logical  necessity  of  its  contravention.  Mr.  Lincoln 
believed  that  a  nation  had  a  fundamental  right  to  live,  and 
that  the  United  States  were  a  nation.  Mr.  Davis  believed 
that  the  United  States  were  not  a  nation — or,  if  one — that  it 
held  its  only  right  to  live  at  the  will  of  any  state  that  might 
choose  to  exercise  it. 

On  the  third  of  May,  Mr.  Lincoln  found  it  necessary  to  call 
for  forty-two  thousand  additional  volunteers,  to  serve  for  three 
years,  unless  sooner  discharged,  and  for  an  aggregate  of  twenty- 
two  thousand  seven  hundred  and  fourteen  men  for  different 
classes  of  service  in  the  regular  army.  An^additional  call  for 
eighteen  thousand  men  to  serve  in  the  navy  was  also  made  in 


the  same  proclamation.  The  country  gave  quick  response  to 
this  call,  and  the  demand  for  army  volunteers  was  soon  an.- 
s  we  red  to  excess. 

The  area  of  operations  was  rapidly  spreading.  Secessionists 
in  and  around  St.  Louis,  Missouri,  were  plotting  for  the  seizure 
of  the  arsenal  in  that  city,  but  Captain  (afterward  General) 
Lyon  promptly  thwarted  the  scheme,  and  secured  the  arms 
for  the  government  forces.  A  secession  camp,  forming  in  the 
same  city,  was  captured,  and  many  within  it  taken  prisoners* 
The  Governor  of  Missouri  was  disloyal,  and  did  what  he  could 
to  throw  that  state  into  the  hands  of  the  rebels ;  and  General 
Harney,  for  a  short  time  in  command  of  the  military  depart- 
ment of  the  West,  so  far  aided  his  schemes  as  to  agree  with 
Sterling  Price  that  the  whole  duty  of  maintaining  order  in  the 
state  should  be  intrusted  to  the  state  authorities.  Harney 
was  removed,  and  General  Lyon  put  in  his  place,  with  a  force 
for  which  he  found  abundant  employment,  and  at  the  head  of 
which  he  afterwards  fell — one  of  the  first  and  costliest  sacri- 
fices of  the  war. 

During  all  the  first  part  of  May,  a  secession  flag  floated 
over  a  building  in  Alexandria,  in  sight  of  the  capitol  at 
Washington;  the  rebel  forces  were  gathering  at  Manassas 
Junction,  and  rebel  troops  held  Harper's  Ferry.  On  the 
twenty-second  of  May,  General  Butler  took  command  of  the 
new  department  of  the  South,  with  head-quarters  at  Fortress 
Monroe.  Five  days  afterward,  he  issued  his  famous  order 
declaring  slaves  "contraband  of  war."  The  phrase  imbodied 
a  new  idea,  which  was  the  germ  of  a  new  policy,  as  well  as 
the  basis  of  a  new  name  for  the  freed  negro.  General  Butler 
had  under  command  here  about  twelve  thousand  men.  Con- 
federate troops  were  already  gathering  and  fortifying  in  the 
vicinity,  and  on  the  tenth  of  June  occurred  the  first  consider- 
able battle  of  the  war  at  Big  Bethel.  It  was  a  badly  man- 
aged affair  on  the  part  of  the  Union  forces ;  and,  in  the  excited 
and  expectant  state  of  the  public  mind,  produced  a  degree  of 
discouragement  in  the  country  quite  disproportioned  to  the 
importance  of  its  results.  Here  fell  Major  Winthrop,  a  young 


man  of  great  bravery  and  rare  literary  ability.  The  troops 
fought  well,  but  were  badly  handled.  Enough  was  learned, 
however,  of  the  bravery  of  the  Yankee,  to  give  prophecy  of 
fine  results  when  the  art  of  war  should  be  better  learned. 

These  comparatively  small  and  widely  separated  movements 
were  but  ripples  shot  out  into  the  coves  and  reaches  of  treason 
from  the  tidal  sweep  of  the  loyal  armies,  crowding  southward 
to  dash  against  the  grand  front  of  the  rebellion.  The  govern- 
ment had  no  lack  of  men ;  but  it  suffered  sadly  for  the  want 
of  arms  to  put  into  their  hands.  But  they  were  armed  in  one 
way  and  another — some  of  them  very  poorly.  The  impatient 
people  could  not  know  how  poorly,  because  it  would  expose 
the  weakness  of  the  government  to  the  enemy;  so  they  clam- 
ored for  a  movement,  and  it  was  made.  On  the  twenty-fourth 
Of  May,  General  Mansfield  began  his  passage  into  Virginia. 
The  gallant  and  lamented  Colonel  Ellsworth  was  sent  with 
his  regiment  of  Zouaves  to  Alexandria;  and  troops  to  the 
number  of  thirteen  thousand  were  moved  across  the  river, 
and  set  to  work  in  the  erection  of  forts  for  the  defense  of 
Washington.  Colonel  Ellsworth,  on  landing  at  Alexandria, 
without  resistance,  went  personally  to  the  Marshall  House, 
kept  by  James  Jackson,  and  mounting  to  the  top,  pulled  down 
the  secession  flag  with  which  Jackson  had  for  weeks  been  in- 
sulting the  authorities  at  Washington.  On  descending,  the 
owner  shot  him  dead,  and  was  in  turn  immediately  shot  dead 
by  a  private  named  Biownell,  who  accompanied  his  Colonel. 

It  is  interesting  to  remember  the  profound  impression  which 
the  death  of  this  young  and  enthusiastic  officer  produced  upon 
the  country.  He  was  among  the  first  the  nation  gave  to  the 
war,  and  his  name,  with  those  of  Greble  and  Winthrop,  Avho 
fell  at  Big  Bethel,  and  Lyon  who  afterward  fell  in  Missouri, 
were  embalmed  in  the  fresh  sensibilities  of  the  people,  and  re- 
main there,  fixed  and  fragrant,  while  thousands  of  those  since 
fallen  have  found  only  weary  and  sickened  hearts  to  rest  in, 
or  memories  too  sadly  crowded  with  precious  names  to  give 
them  room.  Ellsworth's  death  affected  Mr.  Lincoln  with  pe- 
culiar sorrow.  He  had  known  the  young  man  well.  At  one 


time,  Ellsworth  was  a  student  in  Lincoln  &  Herndon's  office; 
and  he  accompanied  Mr.  Lincoln,  on  his  journey  to  Washing- 
ton. The  body  of  the  young  martyr  was  borne  sadly  back 
to  Washington,  and  was  received  into  the  White  House  itself, 
where  the  funeral  took  ^jlace,  Mr.  Lincoln  himself  assuming 
the  position  of  chief  mourner. 

After  the  accumulation  of  a  large  army  on  the  Virginia 
side  of  the  Potomac,  it  was  determined  to  push  forward  the 
forces  then  under  the  command  of  Major  General  McDowell, 
for  a  battle  with  the  rebel  army  which  had  been  gathered  at 
Manassas.  For  this  battle  each  side  had  been  preparing  writh 
great  industry.  The  enemy  had  withdrawn  his  forces  from 
the  occupation  of  Harper's  Ferry,  and  that  important  point 
had  passed  into  federal  control.  From  every  quarter  he  gath- 
ered in  his  troops,  or  held  them  within  easy  call,  and  waited 
for  the  attack.  It  began  on  the  nineteenth,  and  ended  on  the 
twenty-first  of  July,  in  a  most  terrible  rout  of  the  Union 
forces.  The  whole  army  upon  which  the  President  and  the 
people  had  rested  such  strong  hope  and  expectation  was  broken 
in  pieces,  and  came  flying  back  toward  Washington,  panic- 
stricken,  worn  out,  disorganized  and  utterly  demoralized. 
They  had  fought  bravely  and  well;  but  they  were  not  above  in- 
fluences that  have  affected  armies  since  time  began,  and  they 
yielded  to  fears  which  made  them  uncontrollable. 

The  loss  of  this  battle,  fought  under  the  pressure  of  popu- 
lar impatience,  cost  the  country  a  fearful  amount  of  sacrifice. 
It  greatly  encouraged  the  rebels,  their  sympathizers  abroad 
sent  up  a  shout  of  triumph,  and  the  loyal  masses  were  put  to 
such  a  test  of  their  patriotism  and  determined  bravery  as  they 
had  never  been  subjected  to.  The  work  had  all  to  be  done 
again,  under  the  most  discouraging  circumstances ;  but  when 
the  case  was  reviewed,  reason  was  found  for  gratitude  that  it 
Ind  been  no  worse.  Washington,  at  the  close  of  the  battle 
at  Bull  Run,  was  at  the  mercy  of  the  rebels.  It  was  well 
that  they  did  not  know  this,  or  that,  if  they  knew  it,  they 
were  not  in  a  condition  to  push  on,  and  occupy  what  must 
have  fallen  into  their  hands. 


Among  all  the  millions  to  whom  this  event  brought  sorrow, 
there  was  not  one  who  suffered  so  keenly  as  the  tender-hearted 
and  patient  man  who,  walking  back  and  forth  between  the 
White  House  and  the  War  Department,  felt  the  great  burden 
of  it  all  upon  his  own  shoulders.  €Ie  had  need  of  the  full 
exercise  of  his  abounding  faith  in  Providence  to  sustain  him 
in  that  dark  and  perilous  hour.  He  could  not  but  feel  that 
peace  had  been  put  far  away  by  the  result  of  the  battle ;  but 
he  learned  afterwards  that  Providence  had  wise  and  beneficent 
designs  in  that  result.  Peace  conquered  then,  would  have 
been  peace  with  the  cause  of  the  war  retained.  Peace  then 
would  have  left  four  million  slaves  in  bondage.  Peace  then 
would  have  left  the  "house  divided  against  itself"  still,  with 
the  possibility  of  an  indefinite  extension  of  slavery.  It  was 
not  so  to  be.  A  thousand  plagues  were  yet  to  come  before 
the  public  mind  would  be  ready  to  let  the  bondman  go. 

Soon  after  the  original  movement  into  Virginia,  the  Post- 
master-general suspended  all  postal  service  in  the  seceded 
states ;  and  at  this  time  active  movements  commenced  in  Gen- 
eral McClellan's  department.  Under  the  auspices  of  Gov- 
ernor Magoffin  of  Kentucky — one  of  the  governors  who  had 
sent  back  an  insulting  response  to  the  Presidents  original  call 
for  troops — his  Inspector-general  Buckner  organized  a  force 
in  Kentucky,  which  was  watched  with  much  anxiety  by  the 
loyal  people  on  the  other  side  of  the  Ohio,  because  it  was 
believed  to  be  intended  for  the  rebel  service.  Buckner  visited 
General  McClellan  at  Cincinnati  on  the  eighth  of  June,  and 
on  the  twenty-second  of  that  month  he  reported  to  Governor 
Magoffin  the  terms  of  a  convention  into  which  he  had  entered 
with  the  federal  general.  Briefly  lue  reported  that  General 
McClellan  stipulated  that  Kentucky  should  be  regarded  by 
the  United  States  as  neutral  territory,  even  though  southern 
troops  should  occupy  it.  In  such  a  case,  the  United  States 
should  call  upon  Kentucky  to  remove  such  troops,  and  if  ?he 
should  fail  to  do  so  within  a  reasonable  time,  then  the  General 
claimed  the  same  right  of  occupation  accorded  to  the  southern 
troops,  and  promised  to  withdraw  so  soon  as  those  troops 


should  be  expelled.  Whether  this  was  a  true  statement  of 
the  agreement  or  not,  General  McClellan  did  nothing  incon- 
sistent with  it,  although  he  afterwards  denied  Buckner's  state- 
ment of  the  results  of  the  consultation.  The  occupation  and 
defense  of  important  points  upon  the  bank  of  the  river  oppo- 
site Cincinnati  were  abandoned,  and,  in  a  letter  to  Mr.  Crit- 
tenden,  he  disclaimed  all  responsibility  for  the  intrusion  of  a 
body  of  General  Prentiss'  men,  who  had  landed  on  the  Ken- 
tucky shoi-e  and  brought  away  a  secession  flag.  The  General, 
it  was  evident,  did  not  comprehend  the  character  of  the  re- 
bellion, or  he  failed  to  recognize  the  fact  that  in  such  a  struggle 
there  could  be  no  such  thing  as  the  neutrality  which  Ken- 
tucky was  professedly  desirous  to  maintain. 

The  tenderness  of  the  government,  as  well  as  of  the  gen- 
erals it  had  appointed,  toward  slavery,  is  worthy  of  note  at 
this  juncture.  Mr.  Lincoln  had  always  taken  great  pains  to 
show  that  he  respected  the  legal  rights  of  slavery  under  the 
Constitution.  The  republicans,  in  national  convention  and  in 
Congress,  had  done  the  same.  The  three  democratic  generals 
it  had  placed  in  command — Butler,  Patterson  and  McClellan — 
went  a  step  further,  and  promised  in  advance  that  they  would 
not  only  not  interfere  with  slavery,  but  would  assist  the  rebels 
in  putting  down  a  slave  insurrection.  General  Butler,  of  the 
three,  experienced  a  healthy  reaction  from  this  devotion  to 
slavery  at  an  early  day. 

"Western  Virginia  was  loyal,  and,  on  the  seventeenth  of 
June,  in  convention  at  Wheeling,  repudiated  the  ordinance  of 
secession  passed  by  the  state  convention,  and  promptly  inau- 
gurated a  new  state  government,  with  Francis  II.  Pierpoint  for 
Governor.  This  was  the  first  step  toward  "reconstruction," 
and  il  was  taken  under  the  direct  sanction  of  Mr.  Lincoln. 
The  doctrine  of  secession  thus  early  returned  to  plague  the 
inventors.  Rebel  forces  and  rebel  sympathizers  were  of  course 
in  Western  Virginia ;  and  a  campaign  was  inaugurated  there, 
early  in  June,  for  the  expulsion  of  these  forces  from  the  terri- 
tory. General  Rosecrans  and  General  Thomas  A.  Morris 
had  this  campaign  in  hand,  and,  on  the  twenty-third  of  June, 


General  McClellan  arrived.  On  the  tenth  of  July,  a  skirmish 
was  had  with  the  rebels  at  Laurel  Hill,  and  two  days  later 
the  battle  of  Rich  Mountain  was  fought,  which  resulted  in  the 
defeat  and  surrender  of  the  rebel  Colonel  Pegram,  with  a 
thousand  men.  This  did  not  compass  the  successes  of  the 
day.  General  Garnett  who  was  bringing  supports  to  Gene- 
ral Pegram  was  pursued,  his  forces  routed,  and  himself  killed. 
This  temporarily  cleaned  out  the  enemy  from  Western  Vir- 
ginia. General  McClellan's  dispatch  to  the  war  department 
announcing  this  very  grateful  victory  was  direct,  spirited  and 
well  written,  and  immediately  attracted  the  attention  of  the 
country.  These  successes  in  Western  Virginia,  together  with 
the  Napoleonic  manner  of  their  announcement,  paved  the  way 
to  that  wonderful  popular  confidence  which  was  afterward  ac- 
corded to  the  commanding  general,  although  he  had  very  little 
to  do  in  planning  the  campaign  in  which  they  were  won,  or 
the  battles  by  which  they  were  secured. 

Congress,  according  to  the  proclamation  of  the  President, 
had  assembled  on  the  fourth  of  July,  and  was  of  course 
in  session  when  the  successes  in  Western  Virginia  were 
achieved,  as  well  as  when  the  rout  of  the  army  at  Bull 
Run  occurred.  Indeed,  the  presence  of  the  members  at 
Washington  added  to  the  pressure  which  precipitated  the 
movement  that  resulted  so  disastrously.  Some  of  the  mem- 
bers went  out  to  see  the  fight.  One  of  these  was  taken 
prisoner,  and  others  took  such  a  lesson  in  retreating  as  to 
cure  them  of  all  curiosity  concerning  battles  and  battle-fields 

On  the  meeting  of  Congress,  the  President  communicated  a 
message  which  was  received  W(ith  profound  interest,  both  by 
Congress  and  the  whole  country.  The  opening  portions  of 
the  document  were  strictly  historical  of  the  events  of  the  re- 
bellion up  to  the  date  of  its  utterance ;  and  as  the  most  of 
these  events  have  already  found  record  in  these  pages,  their 
reproduction  is  not  necessary. 

By  opening  fire  upon  Sumter,  when  it  had  not  "a  gun  in 
sight,  or  in  expectancy,  to  return  their  fire,  save  only  the  few 


in  the  fort  sent  to  that  harbor  years  before  for  their  own  pro- 
tection" he  declared  that  the  rebels  had  forced  upon  the  coun* 
try  the  distinct  issue — immediate  dissolution  or  blood.  "  And 
this  issue,"  the  message  proceeds,  "  embraces  more  than  the 
fate  of  these  United  States.  It  presents  to  the  whole  family 
of  man  the  question  whether  a  constitutional  republic  or  de«- 
mocracy — a  government  of  the  people  by  the  same  people— • 
can  or  cannot  maintain  its  territorial  integrity,  against  its  own 
domestic  foes.  It  presents  the  question  whether  discontented 
individuals,  too  few  in  numbers  to  control  administration  ao 
cording  to  organic  law  in  any  case,  can  always,  upon  the  pre- 
tences made  in  this  case,  or  on  any  other  pretences,  or  arbi- 
trarily, without  any  pretence,  break  up  their  government,  and 
thus  practically  put  an  end  to  free  government  upon  the  earth-. 
It  forces  us  to  ask,  '  Is  there  in  all  republics,  this  inherent  and 
fatal  weakness?'  'Must  a  government,  of  necessity,  be  too 
strong  for  the  liberties  of  its  own  people,  or  too  weak  to  main- 
tain its  own  existence  ? ' ' 

The  attempt  of  some  of  the  border  states  to  maintain  a  sort 
of  armed  neutrality — as  illustrated  in  the  case  of  Kentucky-— 
the  arming  of  those  states  to  keep  the  forces  on  either  side 
from  passing  over  their  territory — he  declared  would  be  dis*- 
union  completed,  if  for  a  moment  entertained.  It  would  be 
building  "  an  impassable  wall  along  the  line  of  separation,  and 
yet,  not  quite  an  impassable  one,  for,  under  the  guise  of  neu- 
trality, it  would  tie  the  hands  of  Union  men,  and  freely  pass 
supplies  from  among  them  to  the  insurrectionists,  which  it 
could  not  do  as  an  open  enemy.  At  a  stroke  it  would  take 
all  the  trouble  off  the  hands  of  secession,  except  only  Avhat 
proceeds  from  the  external  blockade." 

Soon  after  the  first  call  for  militia,  liberty  was  given  to  the 
commanding  general  to  suspend  the  privilege  of  the  writ  of 
habeas  corpus  in  certain  cases,  or  "  to  arrest  and  detain  with- 
out resort  to  the  ordinary  processes  of  law  such  individuals  as 
he  might  deem  dangerous  to  the  public  safety."  Although 
this  liberty  was  indulged  very  sparingly,  there  were  not 
wanting  men  unfriendly  to  the  administration  who  made  it  the 

316  LIFE    OF    ABItATTAM    LINCOLN". 

subject  of  factious  complaint.     This  fact  Mr.  Lincoln  noticed, 
and  this  was  his  defense: 

"  The  whole  of  the  laws  which  were  required  to  be  faithfully  executed 
were  being  resisted,  and  failing  of  execution,  in  nearly  one-third  of  the 
states.  Must  they  be  allowed  to  finally  fail  of  execution,  even  had  it 
been  perfectly  clear  that  by  the  use  of  the  means  necessary  to  their 
execution  some  single  law,  made  in  such  extreme  tenderness  of  the  cit- 
izen's liberty,  that,  practically,  it  relieves  more  of  the  guilty  than  the 
innocent,  should,  to  a  very  limited  extent,  be  violated?  To  state  the 
question  more  directly :  are  all  the  laws  but  one  to  go  unexecuted,  and 
the  government  itself  go  to  pieces,  lest  that  one  be  violated  ?  Even 
in  such  a  case,  would  not  the  official  oath  be  broken,  if  the  government 
should  be  overthrown  when  it  was  believed  that  disregarding  the  single 
law  would  tend  to  preserve  it  ?  But  it  was  not  believed  that  this  ques- 
tion was  presented.  It  was  not  believed  "that  any  law  was  violated. 
The  provision  of  the  Constitution  that  'the  privilege  of  the  writ  of 
haleas  corpus  shall  not  be  suspended,  unless,  when  in  cases  of  rebellion 
qr  invasion,  the  public  safety  may  require  it,'  is  equivalent  to  a  provi- 
sion— is  a  provision — that  such  privilege  may  be  suspended  when,  in  case 
of  rebellion  or  invasion,  the  public  safety  does  require  it.  It  was  de- 
cided that  we  have  a  case  of  rebellion,  and  that  the  public  safety  does 
require  the  qualified  suspension  of  the  privilege  of  the  writ,  which  was 
authorized  to  be  made.  Now  it  is  insisted  that  Congress,  and  not  the 
Executive,  is  invested  with  this  power.  But  the  Constitution  itself  is 
silent  as  to  which  or  who  is  to  exercise  this  power;  and  as  the  provision 
was  plainly  made  for  a  dangerous  emergency,  it  cannot  be  believed  the 
framers  of  the  instrument  intended  that,  in  every  case,  the  danger  should 
run  its  course  until  Congress  could  be  called  together,  the  very  assen> 
bling  of  which  might  be  prevented,  as  was  intended  in  this  case  by  the 

After  recommending  that  Congress  make  the  contest  a  short 
and  decisive  one,  by  placing  at  the  control  of  the  government 
four  hundred  thousand  men  and  four  hundred  million  dollars, 
and  stating  that  a  right  result  at  that  time  would  be  worth 
more  to  the  world  than  ten  times  the  men  and  ten  times  the 
money,  Mr.  Lincoln  took  up  the  doctrine  of  state  rights, 
state  sovereignty,  the  right  of  secession,  &c.,  and  argued 
against  it  at  length,  doubtless  as  a  reply  to  the  message  of 
Mr.  D.vvis,  and  to  place  before  the  world,  whose  governments 
and  peoples  were  sitting  in  judgment  on  the  case,  the  grounds 


of  the  national  struggle  with  the  rebellion.     The  passage  is 
too  important  to  be  abbreviated: 

"It  might  seem,  at  first  thought,  to  be  of  little  difference  whether  the 
present  movement  at  the  South  be  called  "secession,"  or  "rebellion." 
The  movers,  however,  will  understand  the  difference.  At  the  begin- 
ning, they  knew  they  could  never  raise  their  treason  to  any  respectable 
magnitude  by  any  name  which  implies  violation  of  law.  They  knew 
their  people  possessed  as  much  of  moral  sense,  as  much  of  devotion  to 
law  and  order,  and  as  much  pride  in,  and  reverence  for  the  history  and 
government  of  their  common  country,  as  any  other  civilized  and  patri- 
otic people.  They  knew  they  could  make  no  advancement  directly  in 
the  teeth  of  these  strong  and  noble  sentiment.  Accordingly,  they 
commenced  by  an  insidious  debauching  of  the  public  mind.  They  in- 
vented an  ingenious  sophism,  which,  if  conceded,  was  fallowed  by  pe»- 
fectly  logical  steps,  through  all  the  incidents,  to  the  complete  destruction 
of  the  Union.  The  sophism  itself  is,  that  any  state  of  the  Union  may, 
consistently  with  the  national  Constitution,  and  therefore  lawfully  and 
peacefully,  withdraw  from  the  Union  without  the  consent  of  the  Union, 
or  of  any  other  state.  The  little  disguise  that  the  supposed  right  is  to 
be  exercised  pnly  for  just  cause,  themselves  to  be  the  sole  judges  of  its 
justice,  is  too  thin  to  merit  any  notice. 

"  With  rebellion  thus  sugar-coated  they  have  been  drugging  the  pub- 
lic mind  of  their  section  for  more  than  thirty  years,  and  until  at  length 
they  have  brought  many  good  men  to  a  willingness  to  take  up  arms 
against  the  government  the  day  after  some  assemblage  of  men  have 
enacted  the  farcical  pretence  of  taking  their  state  out  of  the  Union,, 
who  could  have  been  brought  to  no  such  thing  the  day  before. 

"  This  sophism  derives  much,  perhaps  the  whole,  of  its  currency  from 
the  assumption  that  there  is  some  omnipotent  and  sacred  supremacy 
pertaining  to  a  state — to  each  state  of  our  Federal  Union.  Our  states 
have  neither  more  nor  less  power  than  that  reserved  to  them  in  the 
Union  by  the  Constitution — no  one  of  them  ever  having  been  a  state 
out  of  the  Union.  The  original  ones  passed  into  the  Union  even  before 
they  cast  off  their  British  colonial  dependence ;  and  the  new  ones  each 
came  into  the  Union  directly  from  a  condition  of  dependence,  excepting 
Texas.  And  even  Texas,  in  its  temporary  independence,  was  never 
designated  a  state.  The  new  ones  only  took  the  designation  of  states 
on  coming  into  the  Union,  while  that  name  was  first  adopted  by  the  old 
ones  in  and  by  the  Declaration  of  Independence.  Therein  the  "  United 
Colonies"  were  declared  to  be  "free  and  independent  states;"  but,  even 
then,  the  object  plainly  was  not  to  declare  their  independence  of  one 
another,  or  of  the  Union,  but  directly  the  contrary,  as  their  mutual 
pledge  and  their  mutual  action  before,  at  the  time,  and  afterwards, 


abundantly  show.  The  express  plighting  of  faith  by  each  and  all  of 
the  original  thirteen  in  the  Articles  of  Confederation,  two  years  later, 
that  the  Union  shall  be  perpetual,  is  most  conclusive.  Having  never 
been  states,  either  in  substance  or  in  name,  outside  of  the  Union,  whence 
this  magical  omnipotence  of  "  state  rights,"  asserting  a  claim  of  power 
to  lawfully  destroy  the  Union  itself?  Much  is  said  about  the  -'sover- 
eignty" of  the  states;  but  the  word  even  is  not  in  the  national  Consti- 
tution; nor,  as  is  believed,  in  any  of  the  state  constitutions.  What  is 
"sovereignty"  in  the  political  sense  of  the  term?  Would  it  be  far 
wrong  to  define  it  "a  political  community  without  a  political  superior?" 
Tested  by  this,  no  one  of  our  states  except  Texas,  ever  was  a  sover- 
eignty. And  even  Texas  gave  up  the  character  on  coming  into  the 
Union;  by  which  act  She  acknowledged  the  Constitution  of  the  United 
States  and  the  laws  and  treaties  of  the  United  States  made  in  pursu- 
ance of  the  Constitution,  to  be  for  her  the  supreme  law  of  the  land. 
The  states  have  their  status  in  the  Union,  and  they  have  no  other  legal 
status.  If  they  break  from  this,  they  can  only  do  so  against  law  and  by 
revolution.  The  Union,  and  not  themselves,  separately,  procured  their 
independence  and  their  liberty.  By  conquest  or  purchase  the  Union  gave 
each  of  them  whatever  of  independence  or  liberty  it  has.  The  Union 
is  older  than  any  of  the  states,  and,  in  fact,  it  created  them  as  states. 
Originally  some  dependent  colonies  made  the  Union,  and,  in  turn,  the 
Union  threw  off  their  old  dependence  for  them,  and  made  them  states, 
such  as  they  are.  Not  one  of  them  ever  had  a  state  constitution  inde- 
pendent of  the  Union.  Of  course,  it  is  not  forgotten  that  all  the  new 
states  framed  their  constitutions  before  they  entered  the  Union ;  never- 
theless dependent  upon,  and  preparatory  to,  coming  into  the  Union. 

"Unquestionably  the  states  have  the  powers  and  rights  reserved  to 
them  in  and  by  the  national  Constitution :  but  among  these,  surely,  are 
not  included  all  conceivable  powers,  however  mischievous  or  destruct- 
ive ;  but,  at  most,  such  only  as  were  known  in  the  world,  at  the  time, 
as  governmental  powers;  and,  certainly,  a  power  to  destroy  the  Govern- 
ment itself  had  never  been  known  as  a  governmental — as  a  merely 
administrative  power.  This  relative  matter  of  national  power  and 
State  rights,  as  a  principle,  is  no  other  than  the  principle  of  generality 
and  locality.  Whatever  concerns  the  whole  should  be  confided  to  the 
whole — to  the  general  government;  while  whatever  concerns  only  the 
state  should  be  left  exclusively  to  the  state.  This  is  all  there  is  of 
original  principle  about  it.  Whether  the  national  Constitution  in  de- 
fining boundaries  between  the  two  has  applied  the  principle  with  exact 
accuracy,  is  not  to  be  questioned.  We  are  all  bound  by  that  defining, 
without  question. 

"  What  is  now  combated,  is  the  position  that  secession  is  consistent 
with  the  Constitution. — is  lawful  and  peaceful.  Jt  is  not  contended  that 


there  is  any  express  law  for  it;  and  nothing  should  ever  be  implied  as 
law  which  leads  to  unjust  or  absurd  consequences.  The  nation  pur- 
chased with  money  the  countries  out  of  which  several  of  these  states 
were  formed ;  is  it  just  that  they  shall  go  off  without  leave  and  without 
refunding?  The  nation  paid  very  large  sums  (in  the  aggregate,  I  be^ 
lieve,  nearly  a  hundred  millions)  to,  relieve  Florida  of  the  aboriginal 
tribes;  is  it  just  that  she  shall  now  be  off  without  consent,  or  without 
making  any  return  V  The  nation  is  now  in  debt  for  money  applied  to 
the  benefit  of  these  so-called  seceding  states  in  common  with  the  rest; 
is  it  just  either  that  creditors  shall  go  unpaid,  or  the  remaining  states 
pay  the  whole  ?  A  part  of  the  present  national  debt  was  contracted  to 
pay  the  old  debts  of  Texas;  is  it  just  that  she  shall  leave  and  pay  no 
part  of  this  herself? 

<*  Again,  if  one  state  may  secede,  so  may  another;  and  when  all  shall 
have  seceded,  none  is  left  to  pay  the  debts.  Is  this  quite  just  to  credi- 
tors? Did  we  notify  them  of  this  sage  view  of  ours  when  we  borrowed 
their  money?  If  we  now  recognize  this  doctrine  by  allowing  the  seced- 
ers  to  go  in  peace,  it  is  difficult  to  see  what  we  can  do  if  others  choose 
to  go,  or  to  extort  terms  upon  which  they  will  promise  to  remain. 

u  The  seceders  insist  that  our  Constitution  admits  of  secession.  They 
have  assumed  to  make  a  national  constitution  of  their  own,  in  which, 
of  necessity,  they  have  either  discarded  or  retained  the  right  of  seces- 
sion, as  they  insist  it  exists  in  ours.  If  they  have  discarded  it,  they 
thereby  admit  that  on  principle  it  ought  not  to  exist  in  ours;  if  they 
Lave  retained  it,  by  their  own  construction  of  ours  they  show  that,  to 
be  consistent,  they  must  secede  from  one  another  whenever  they  shall 
find  it  the  easiest  way  of  settling  their  debts,  or  effecting  any  other 
selfish  or  unjust  object.  The  principle  itself  is  one  of  disintegration, 
and  upon  which  no  government  can  possibly  endure. 

"  If  all  the  states  save  one  should  assert  the  power  to  drive  that  one 
out  of  the  Union,  it  is  presumed  the  whole  class  of  seceder  politicians 
would  at  once  deny  the  power,  and  denounce  the  act  as  the  greatest 
outrage  upon  state  rights.  But  suppose  that  precisely  the  same  act, 
instead  of  being  called  '  driving  the  one  out,'  should  be  called  'the  seced- 
ing of  the  others  from  that  one,'  it  would  be  exactly  what  the  seceders 
claim  to  do,  unless,  indeed,  they  make  the  point  that  the  one,  because  it  is 
a  minority,  may  rightfully  do  what  the  others,  because  they  are  a  ma- 
jority, may  not  rightfully  do.  These  politicians  are  subtle,  and  profound 
on  the  rights  of  minorities.  They  are  not  partial  to  that  power  which, 
made  the  Constitution,  and  speaks  from  the  preamble,  calling  itself '  We, 
the  people.'" 

The  popular  government  of  the  United  States,  Mr.  Lincoln 
said,  had  been  called  an  experiment.  Two  points  of  the  ex- 


periment  had  already  been  settled ;  the  government  had  been 
established,  and  it  had  been  administered.  One  point  remained 
to  be  established :  its  successful  maintenance  against  a  formid- 


able  internal  attempt  to  overthrow  it.  •  It  remained  to  be  dem- 
onstrated to  the  world  that  those  who  could  fairly  carry  an 
election  could  also  suppress  a  rebellion — "  that  ballots  are  the 
rightful  and  peaceful  successors  to  bullets,  and  that  when  bat- 
lots  have  fairly  and  constitutionally  decided,  there  can  be  no 
successful  appeal  back  to  bullets — that  there  can  be  no  suc- 
cessful appeal,  except  to  ballots  themselves,  at  succeeding 
elections."  Another  justification  of  the  war  in  which  he  was 
engaged  he  found  in  that  article  of  the  Constitution  which 
provides  that  "the  United  States  shall  guarantee  to  every 
state  in  this  Union  a  republican  form  of  government."  If  a 
state  might  lawfully  go  out  of  the  Union,  it  might  also,  having 
gone  out,  discard  the  republican  form  of  government,  "  so  that 
to  prevent  its  going  out  is  an  indispensable  means  to  the  end 
of  maintaining  the  guarantee  mentioned ;  and  when  an  end  is 
lawful  and  obligatory,  the  indispensable  means  to  it  are  also 
lawful  and  obligatory." 

Congress  was  ready  to  do  all  that  the  President  desired, 
and  even  more.  Instead  of  four  hundred  million  dollars,  they 
placed  at  his  disposal  five  hundred  millions,  and  instead  of 
confining  his  levy  of  troops  to  four  hundred  thousand,  they 
gave  him  liberty  to  call  out  half  a  million.  They  also  legal- 
ized all  the  steps  he  had  thus  far  taken  for  the  suppression 
of  the  rebellion,  and  labored  in  all  ways  to  strengthen  his 
hands  and  encourage  his  heart.  These  measures  were  passed 
in  the  presence,  and  against  the  protest,  of  secessionists,  who 
still  held  their  places  in  both  houses  of  Congress.  Burnett 
of  Kentucky  and  Reid  and  Norton  of  Missouri,  in  the  House, 
afterwards  proved  their  treason  by  engaging  directly  in  the 
rebellion.  Breckinridge  and  Powell  of  Kentucky  and  Polk 
and  Johnson  of  Missouri,  in  the  Senate,  were  known  at  the 
time  to  be  anything  but  loyal.  And  they  had  sympathizers 
who,  under  any  other  government,  would  have  been  arrested 
and  held,  if  not  treated  with  still  greater  severity.  Vallan- 


digham  of  Ohio  was  afterwards  sent  into  the  rebel  lines  for 
treason,  and  it  is  undoubtedly  true  that  Kennedy  of  Maryland, 
Bayard  of  Delaware,  Bright  of  Indiana,  and  Ben  AVood  of 
New  York  had  personal  reason  for  feeling  that  he  had  been 
very  harshly  used.  Yet  it  was  best  that  these  men  should  be 
where  they  were,  to  bicker  and  bite,  and  illustrate  the  spirit 
of  that  incorporate  infamy — a  slaveholders'  rebellion.  Such 
toleration  illustrated  alike  the  strength  and  moderation  of  the 
government.  Some  of  these  men  were  permitted  to  rise  in 
the  places  they  had  justly  forfeited,  and,  with  perjured  lips,  to 
talk  treason — to  complain  of  arbitrary  arrests  when  they  were 
suffered  to  go  and  come,  and  scheme  and  brawl  with  perfect 
liberty,  in  the  streets  of  the  national  capital. 

There  was  plenty  of  treasonable  talk  in  Congress,  but  no 
treasonable  action.  The  party  friends  of  the  government 
were  in  a  majority,  and  they  were  aided  by  numbers  of  loyal 
democrats.  The  schemes  of  finance  recommended  by  Mr. 
Chase,  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  were  adopted  essen- 
tially as  recommenced,  a  moderate  confiscation  act  was  passed, 
and  a  resolution  adopted  by  the  House — introduced  by  Mr. 
Crittenden  of  Kentucky — that  the  war  had  been  forced 
upon  the  country  by  the  disunionists  of  the  southern  states, 
then  in  revolt  against  the  constitutional  government  and 
in  arms  around  the  capital:  that  Congress,  banishing  all 
feeling  of  passion  or  resentment,  would  recollect  only  its  duty 
to  the  whole  country:  that  the  war  was  not  waged  on  the 
part  of  the  government  in  the  spirit  of  oppression,  nor  for 
any  purpose  of  conquest  or  subjugation,  nor  purpose  of  over- 
throwing or  interfering  with  the  rights  or  established  institu- 
tions of  the  states ;  but  to  defend  and  maintain  the  supremacy 
of  the  Constitution,  and  to  preserve  the  Union,  with  all  the 
dignities,  equality  and  rights  of  the  several  states  unimpaired : 
and  that  as  soon  as  those  objects  were  accomplished,  the  war 
ought  to  cease.  During  the  session,  Mr.  Trumbull  of  Illinois 
introduced  a  bill  in  the  Senate  to  emancipate  all  the  slaves  in 
the  rebel  states.  This  was  a  prophecy  and  a  threat  of  what 
would  come  as  the  reward  of  rebel  contumacy. 


The  session  closed  on  the  sixth  day  of  August,  having  lasted 
but  little  more  than  a  month.  The  President  found  himself 
abundantly  supported,  and  the  means  in  his  hands  for  carry- 
ing on  the  great  contest. 

The  message  of  Mr.  Lincoln  to  this  extra  session  of  Con- 
gress, taken  with  his  inaugural,  did  much  to  overcome  the 
unpleasant  impressions  produced  by  the  speeches  he  made  on 
his  way  to  Washington.  There  is  no  question  that  those 
speeches  seriously  damaged  him,  and  shook  the  confidence  of 
the  country  in  his  ability.  The  inaugural  and  the  message 
had  the  old  ring  in  them,  and  betrayed  something  of  those 
qualities  which  had  originally  attracted  the  country  to  him. 

It  is  true,  however,  that  he  did  not  spend  much  time  in 
writing  his  messages.  His  later  efforts  in  this  line  did  not 
bear  always  so  many  marks  of  painstaking  as  the  first.  He 
had  a  great  aversion  to  what  he  called  "machine  writing," 
and  always  used  the  fewest  words  possible  to  express  his 
meaning.  Mr.  Defrees,  the  public  printer,  an  intimate  per- 
sonal friend  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  testifies  that  he  made  the  fewest 
corrections  in  his  proof  of  any  man  he  ever  knew.  He  knew 
nothing  of  the  rules  of  punctuation,  yet  the  manuscripts  of 
very  few  of  our  public  men  are  as  well  punctuated  as  his  uni- 
formly were,  though  his  use  of  commas  was  excessive. 

Mr.  Defrees,  being  on  easy  terms  with  Mr.  Lincoln,  took 
it  upon  him  to  suggest  with  relation  to  his  first  message  that 
he  was  not  preparing  a  campaign  document,  or  delivering  a 
stump  speech  in  Illinois,  but  constructing  an  important  state 
paper,  that  would  go  down  historically  to  all  coming  time; 
and  that,  therefore,  he  did  not  consider  the  phrase,  "  sugar- 
coated,"  which  he  had  introduced,  as  entirely  a  becoming  and 
dignified  one.  "Well,  Defrees,"  said  Mr.  Lincoln,  good  na- 
turedly,  "if  you  think  the  time  will  ever  come  when  the 
people  will  not  understand  what  "sugar-coated"  means,  I'll 
alter  it ;  otherwise,  I  think  I  '11  let  it  go."  To  make  people 
understand  exactly  what  he  meant,  was  his  grand  aim.  Be- 
yond that,  he  had  not  the  slightest  ambition  to  go. 

To  close  this  chapter,  it  only  remains  to  record  the  relief 


of  Major  General  McDowell,  a  worthy  but  unfortunate  officer, 
and  the  appointment  of  General  McCiellan  to  the  command 
of  the  army  of  the  Potomac.  The  country  had  been  attracted 
to  McCiellan  by  his  dispatches  from  Western  Virginia. 
General  Scott  favored  him,  and  to  him  was  accordingly  as- 
signed the  work  of  re-organizing  the  shattered  army.  The 
public  hope  was  ready  to  cling  somewhere,  and  the  public 
heart  gave  itself  to  McCiellan  with  an  enthusiastic  devotion 
rarely  accorded  to  any  man.  His  pictures  were  in  all  the 
windows  of  the  shops,  and  on  all  the  center  tables  of  all  the 
drawing-rooms  in  the  land.  If  he  had  done  but  little  before 
to  merit  this  confidence — if  he  did  but  little  afterwards  to  jus- 
tify it — he,  at  least,  served  at  that  time  to  give  faith  to  the 
people,  and  furnish  a  rallying  point  for  their  patriotic  service. 
For  three  months,  under  his  faithful  and  assiduous  supervi- 
sion, the  organization  of  troops  went  on,  until  he  had  at  his 
command  a  magnificent  army  which  needed  only  to  be  prop- 
erly led  to  be  victorious. 



THE  victory  of  the  rebels  at  Bull  Run  was  singularly  barren 
of  material  results  to  them.  It  did  not  encourage  the  disloyal 
masses  of  the  country  more  than  it  filled  with  new  determin- 
ation the  loyal  people  who  opposed  them.  They  were  as 
badly  punished  as  the  troops  they  had  defeated,  and  could 
take  no  advantage  of  their  victory;  and  they  failed  to  bring 
nearer  the  day  of  foreign  recognition  for  which  they  were 
laboring  and  longing. 

This  matter  of  foreign  recognition  was  a  very  important 
one  to  Mr.  Davis  and  his  confederates.  That  he  expected  it, 
and  had  reason  to  expect  it,  there  is  no  question.  Hostilities 
had  hardly  opened  when  the  British  and  French  governments, 
acting  in  concert,  recognized  the  government  established  at 
Montgomery  as  a  belligerent  power.  If  this  was  not  a 
pledge  of  friendliness,  and  a  promise  of  recognition,  nothing 
could  have  been,  for  the  proceeding  was  unprecedented.  The 
United  States  was  a  power  in  friendly  intercourse  with  these 
two  great  powers  of  Europe,  through  complete  diplomatic  re- 
lations. Without  a  word  of  warning,  without  a  victory  on 
the  part  of  the  insurgents,  without  a  confederate  fleet  afloat, 
with  only  a  half  of  the  slave  states  in  insurrection,  these 
two  governments,  with  the  most  indecent  haste,  gave  their 
moral  support  to  the  enemies  of  the, United  States  by  recog- 
nizing a  portion  of  its  people  engaged  in  an  insurrection  which 
the  government  had  not  yet  undertaken  to  suppress — as  a 
belligerent  power,  with  just  the  same  rights  on  land  and  sea 
as  if  they  were  an  established  government. 


But  for  the  decided  position  assumed  by  Mr.  Lincoln, 
through  his  accomplished  Secretary,  Mr.  Seward,  the  rebel 
government  would  certainly  have  had  an  early  and  full  recog- 
nition. England  and  France  were,  without  doubt,  very 
friendly  to  the  United  States;  but  they  would  have  been 
friendlier  to  two  governments  than  to  one.  In  his  instruc- 
tions to  Mr.  Charles  Francis  Adams,  on  his  departure  to  rep- 
resent the  government  at  the  court  of  St.  James,  Mr.  Seward 

"If,  as  the  President  does  not  at  all  apprehend,  you  shall  unhappily 
find  Her  Majesty's  government  tolerating  the  application  of  the  so-called 
seceding  states,  or  -wavering  about  it,  you  will  not  leave  them  to  suppose, 
for  a  moment,  that  they  can  grant  that  application,  and  remain  the 
friends  of  the  United  States.  You  may  even  assure  them  promptly,  in 
that  case,  that,  if  they  determine  to  recognize,  they  may,  at  the  same 
time,  prepare  to  enter  into  an  alliance  with  the  enemies  of  this  republic. 
You  alone  will  represent  your  country  at  London,  and  you  will  represent 
the  whole  of  it  there.  When  you  are  asked  to  divide  that  duty  with 
others,  diplomatic  relations  between  the  government  of  Great  Britain 
and  this  government  will  be  suspended,  and  will  remain  so  until  it  shall 
be  seen  which  of  the  two  is  most  strongly  intrenched  in  the  confidence 
of  their  respective  nations  and  of  mankind." 

Against  the  recognition  of  the  rebels  as  a  belligerent  power, 
Mr.  Adams  was  directed  to  make  a  decided  and  energetic 
protest ;  and  when,  on  the  fifteenth  of  June,  the  representa- 
tives of  England  and  France  at  Washington  applied  to  Mr. 
Seward  for  the  privilege  of  reading  to  him  certain  instructions 
they  had  received  from  their  governments,  he  declined  to  hear 
them  officially  until  he  had  had  the  privilege  of  reading  them 
privately.  This  privilege  was  accorded  to  him ;  and  then  he 
declined  to  receive  any  official  notice  of  the  documents.  Four 
days  afterwards,  he  wrote  a  letter  to  Mr.  Adams,  informing 
him  of  the  nature  of  the  instructions,  which  were  prefaced 
by  a  statement  of  the  decision  of  the  British  government  that 
this  country  was  divided  into  two  belligerent  parties,  of  which 
the  government  represented  one ;  and  that  the  government  of 
Great  Britain  proposed  to  assume  the  attitude  of  a  neutral 
between  them. 


Touching  this  decision,  Mr.  Seward  said  that  the  govern- 
ment of  tne  United  States  could  not  debate  it  with  the  gov- 
ernment of  Her  Majesty — much  less  consent  to  receive  the 
announcement  of  a  decision  thus  derogating  from  the  sover- 
eignty of  the  United  States — a  decision  at  which  it  had 
arrived  without  conferring  with  us  upon  the  question.  "  The 
United  States"  said  Mr.  Seward,  "are  still  solely  and  exclu- 
sively sovereign,  within  the  territories  they  have  lawfully 
acquired  and  long  possessed,  as  they  have  always  been.  They 
are  living  under  the  obligations  of  the  law  of  nations  and  of 
treaties  with  Great  Britain,  just  the  same  now  as  heretofore ; 
they  are,  of  course,  the  friend  of*  Great  Britain;  and  they 
insist  that  Great  Britain  shall  remain  their  friend  now,  just  as 
she  has  hitherto  been.  Great  Britain,  by  virtue  of  these  re- 
lations, is  a  stranger  to  parties  and  sections  in  this  country, 
whether  they  are  loyal  to  the  United  States  or  not;  and 
Great  Britain  can  neither  rightfully  qualify  the  sovereignty 
of  the  United  States,  nor  concede  nor  recognize  any  rights 
or  interests  or  power,  of  any  party,  state  or  section,  in  con- 
travention to  the  unbroken  sovereignty  of*  the  federal  Union. 
What  is  now  seen  in  this  country  is  the  occurrence,  by  no 
means  peculiar,  but  frequent  in  all  countries,  more  frequent  in 
Great  Britain  than  here,  of  an  armed  insurrection,  engaged 
in  attempting  to  overthrow  the  regularly  constituted  and  es- 
tablished government.  But  these  incidents  by  no  means  con- 
stitute a  state  of  war,  impairing  the  sovereignty  of  the  gov- 
ernment, creating  belligerent  sections,  and  entitling  foreign 
states  to  intervene  or  to  act  as  neutrals  between  them,  or  in 
any  other  way  to  cast  off  their  lawful  obligations  to  the  nation 
thus,  for  the  moment,  disturbed.  Any  other  principle  than 
this  would  be  to  resolve  government  everywhere  into  a  thing 
of  accident  and  caprice,  and  ultimately  all  human  society  into 
a  state  of  perpetual  war." 

Instructions  corresponding  with  these  were  sent  to  our  rep- 
resentatives at  the  French  and  other  European  courts.  These 
governments  were  plainly  given  to  understand  that  our  gov- 
ernment considered  the  difficulty  with  the  slaveholding  states 


to  be  exclusively  its  own — that  it  was  purely  a  domestic  re- 
bellion, which  it  proposed  to  extinguish  by  its  own  power, 
and  one  in  which  foreign  governments  had  no  right  to  inter- 
meddle. Our  ministers  were  told  by  Mr.  Seward  that  they 
oould  not  be  too  decided  or  explicit  in  making  known  to  the 
governments  at  which  they  represented  us,  that  there  was  not 
then,  and  would  not  be,  any  idea  existing  in  the  government 
of  suffering  a  dissolution  of  the  Union  to  take  place,  hi  any 
way  whatever. 

Throughout  all  the  war  that  followed,  England  and  France 
maintained  their  most  unjustifiable  and  cruel  recognition  of 
the  belligerent  rights  of  the  rebels — unjustifiable,  because  it 
was  an  unfriendly  act  toward  a  friendly  power,  on  behalf  of 
a  rebellion  whose  forces  were  still  unorganized,  and  whose 
suppression  the  government  had  hardly  entered  upon;  and 
cruel,  because  it  encouraged  the  rebels  to  persevere  in  a  war 
which  could  only  end  in  defeat  to  them,  and  which  was  so 
prolonged  that  it  made  a  desolation  of  their  whole  country. 
There  is  probably  nothing  more  morally  certain  than  that  the 
expectation  of  full  recognition  by  England  and  France,  on  the 
part  of  Mr.  Davis  and  his  people,  helped  to  continue  the 
struggle  of  the  rebellion  with  the  government,  until  tens  of 
thousands  of  loyal  and  disloyal  lives  were  needlessly  sacrificed. 
The  act  was  unfriendly  to  this  government;  it  was  a  cruelty 
to  the  hapless  insurgents  it  deceived,  for  the  promise  it  con- 
tained was  never  redeemed,  and  would  have  accomplished 
nothing  if  it  had  been ;  and  it  was  a  great  blunder,  from  which 
those  blundering  governments  have  retreated,  amid  the  jeers 
of  the  nations  of  the  world,  and  the  shuffling  apologies  of 
their  own  people.  This  sympathy  with  the  rebellion  on  the 
part  of  these  foreign  governments  is  something  not  to  be  for- 
gotten, because  we  are  to  measure  by  it  the  magnanimity  of 
Mr.  Lincoln  in  the  treatment  of  international  questions  arising 
afterwards.  This  sympathy  is  to-day  denied;  it  was  then 
blatant  and  bellicose.  An  American  could  not  pass  through 
England  without  insult ;  he  could  not  speak  for  the  national 
cause  in  England  without  a  mob.  England,  or  all  of  England 

O  O  ' 


that  had  a  voice,  rejoiced  in  rebel  successes  and  federal  defeats, 
and  garbled  and  qualified  all  the  news  which  favored  the 
prospects  of  national  success.  Whatever  may  be  the  profes- 
sions of  England  now,  no  true  American  can  forget  that  all 
the  influence  she  dared  to  give  in  favor  of  the  rebellion  was 
given,  beginning  promptly  at  the  start;  and  that  her  posi- 
tion rendered  the  task  of  subduing  the  rebellion  doubly  se- 
vere. Whatever  may  be  the  professions  of  her  people  now, 
no  true  American  will  forget  the  insults  that  were  heaped 
upon  his  countrymen  abroad  whenever  an  allusion  was  made 
to  the  national  difficulties,  and  heaped  upon  the  country  by 
the  issues  of  a  press  that  represented  the  British  people, 
and  persistently  misrepresented  our  own.  It  was  not,  of 
course,  to  be  expected  that  monarchies  would  be  friendly  to 
the  great  prosperity  of  democracies,  or  that  they  would  give 
them  their  open  sympathy  and  co-operation  in  difficulty ;  but 
the  latter  should  be  spared  receiving  the  hypocrisies  of  the 
former  as  courtesies ;  •  and,  after  having  been  compelled  to 
drink  of  gall  for  four  years,  should  be  permitted  to  remember 
that  it  was  gall,  and  to  make  the  best  of  it,  without  being  per- 
sistently assured  that  it  was  honey. 

The  opening  of  the  war  found  Colonel  John  C.  Fremont  in 
Europe;  and  he,  with  a  large  number  of  loyal  Americans, 
hastened  home  to  give  their  services  to  their  country.  Colonel 
Fremont,  defeated  as  the  republican  candidate  for  the  presi- 
dency four  years  before  the  election  of  Mr.  Lincoln,  had  had 
military  experience,  and  was  recognized  as  a  popular  man, 
who  would  rally  to  his  command,  at  the  West,  large  numbers 
of  soldiers,  especially  among  the  German  population  of  the 
region.  He  received  the  appointment  of  Major-General,  and 
on  the  same  day  (July  25th,)  that  General  McClellan  arrived 
in  Washington  to  take  command  of  the  Army  of  the  Poto- 
mac, he  arrived  at  St.  Louis,  and  entered  upon  the  command 
of  the  Department  of  the  West,  to  which  he  had  been  assigned. 

Before  General  Fremont  arrived  at  St.  Louis,  a  battle  was 


fought  on  Wilson's  Creek  by  General  Lyon  and  General 
Sisrel,  with  a  large  force  under  the  command  of  Ben  McCul- 

O       *  O 

loch.  It  was  the  second  considerable  battle  of  the  war,  and 
resulted  in  the  death  of  General  Lyon  himself,  and  the  final 
orderly  retreat  of  the  federal  forces  under  Sigel.  General 
Lyon  had  inflicted,  with  his  little  force  of  six  thousand  men, 
such  injury  upon  McCulloch's  twenty-two  thousand,  that  the 
latter  could  not  pursue;  and,  on  the  whole,  there  was  no 
special  discouragement  as  the  result  of  the  defeat. 

General  Fremont's  name  had  a  great  charm  for  the  western 
masses,  and  especially  for  the  Germans ;  and  volunteers  in 
large  numbers  sought  service  under  him.  His  campaign, 
upon  the  organization  of  which  he  entered  with  great  energy, 
contemplated  not  only  the  restoration  of  order  in  Missouri, 
but  the  reclaiming  the  control  of  the  Mississippi  River.  For 
this  latter  object,  he  organized  a  gun-boat  service,  which  was 
destined  to  play  a  very  important  part  in  the  operations  asso- 
ciated with  the  western  inland  waters. 

Missouri  was  in  a  condition  of  most  unhappy  disorder.  It 
was  a  border  slave  state,  containing  many  disunionists  of  its 
own,  and  abounding  with  secession  emissaries  from  other 
states,  determined  to  carry  it  over  to  the  confederacy.  Brother 
was  arrayed  against  brother.  Neighborhoods  were  distressed 
with  deadly  feuds.  Murders  were  of  every-day  occurrence 
on  every  hand,  and  outrages  of  fcvery  kind  were  rife.  The 
civil  administration  of  the  state  was  altogether  unreliable ; 
and  on  the  thirty-first  of  August,  General  Fremont  issued 
a  proclamation  declaring  martial  law,  defining  the  lines  of 
the  army  of  occupation,  and  threatening  with  death  by  the 
bullet  all  who  should  be  found  within  those  lines  with  arms 
in  their  hands.  Furthermore,  the  real  and  personal  prop- 
erty of  all  persons  in  the  state  who  should  take  up  arms 
against  the  United  States  was  declared  confiscated  to  the 
public  use,  and  their  slaves,  if  they  had  any,  were  declared 
free  men. 

This  proclamation  produced  a  strong  effect  upon  the  public 
mind.  The  proclaiming  of  freedom  to  the  slaves  of  rebels 


struck  the  popular  chord,  particularly  among  thoroughly  loyal 
men  in  the  free  states.  Of  course,  it  maddened  all  the  sym- 
pathizers with  the  rebellion,  infuriated  the  rebels  themselves, 
and  perplexed  those  loyal  men  who  had  upon  their  hands  the 
task  of  so  conducting  affairs  as  to  hold  to  their  allegiance  the 
border  slave  states  which  had  not  seceded. 

Mr.  Lincoln  did  not  approve  some  features  of  General  Fre- 
mont's proclamation.  As  soon  as  he  read  it,  he  wrote,  under 
date  of  September  second,  to  the  General,  that  there  were  two 
points  in  it  which  gave  him  anxiety.  The  first  was,  that,  if 
he  should  shoot  a  man  according  to  his  proclamation,  "the 
confederates  would  certainly  shoot  our  best  men  in  their  hands 
in  retaliation,  and  so,  man  for  man,  indefinitely."  He  therefore 
ordered  him  to  allow  no  man  to  be  shot  under  the  proclama- 
tion without  first  having  his  (the  President's)  approbation  or 
consent.  The  second  cause  of  anxiety  was  that  the  para- 
graph relating  to  the  confiscation  of  property  and  the  libera- 
tion of  slaves  qf  traitorous  owners  would  alarm  Unionists  at 
the  South,  and  perhaps  ruin  the  fair  prospect  of  saving  Ken- 
tucky to  the  Union.  He,  therefore,  wished  General  Fremont, 
as  of  his  own  motion,  so  to  modify  his  proclamation  as  to 
make  it  conformable  to  the  confiscation  act  just  passed  by  the 
extra  session  of  Congress,  which  only  freed  such  slaves  as 
were  engaged  in  the  rebel  service.  Mr.  Lincoln  did  not  wish 
to  interfere  with  General  Fremont,  or  unreasonably  to  curtail 
his  authority,  although  he  had  assumed  an  unwarrantable  re- 
sponsibility in  taking  so  important  a  step  without  consultation 
or  notice.  Congress  had  had  that  very  matter  in  hand,  and 
had  embodied  its  opinion  in  an  act.  To  this  act  he  wished  to 
have  the  General  conform  his  proclamation,  and  that  was  all 
he  desired.  The  wisdom  of  his  criticism  of  the  first  point 
was  proved  by  a  document  issued  by  the  rebel  Jeff  Thomp- 
son on  the  same  day  he  wrote  it.  "Jeff  Thompson,  Briga- 
dier General  of  the  first  military  district  of  Missouri,"  acting 
under  the  state  government,  did  "most  solemnly  promise" 
that  for  every  soldier  of  the  state  guard,  "  or  soldier  of  our 
allies,  the  armies  of  the  confederate  States,"  who  should  be 


put  to  death  under  the  proclamation,  he  would  "liang,  draiv 
and  quarter  a  minion  of  Abraham  Lincoln." 

General  Fremont  received  the  President's  letter  respectfully, 
and  replied  to  it  September  eighth,  stating  the  difficulties  un- 
der which  he  labored,  with  communication  with  the  govern- 
ment so  difficult,  and  the  development  of  perplexing  events 
so  rapid  in  the  department  under  his  command.  As  to  the 
part  of  his  proclamation  concerning  the  slaves,  he  wished  the 
President  openly  to  order  the  change  desired,  as,  if  he  should 
do  it  of  his  own  motion,  it  would  imply  that  he  thought  him- 
self wronff,  and  that  he  had  acted  without  the  reflection  which 

O'  i 

the  gravity  of  the  point  demanded.  This  the  President  did, 
in  a  dispatch  under  date  of  September  eleventh,  in  the  words: 
"It  is  therefore  ordered  that  the  said  clause  of  said  proclama- 
tion be  so  modified,  held,  and  construed,  as  to  conform  to,  and 
not  to  transcend,  the  provisions  on  the  same  subject  contained 
in  the  act  of  Congress  entitled,  '  An  act  to  confiscate  property 
used  for  insurrectionary  purposes,'  approved  August  6, 1861 ; 
and  that  such  act  be  published  at  length  with  this  order." 
Before  this  order  had  been  received,  or  on  the  day  following 
its  date,  General  Fremont,  though  acquainted  with  the  Pres- 
ident's wishes,  manumitted  two  slaves  of  Thomas  L.  Snead 
of  St.  Louis,  in  accordance  with  the  terms  of  his  proclama- 

Although  Mr.  Lincoln  desired  General  Fremont  so  to  mod- 
ify his"  proclamation  as  to  make  it  accordant  with  the  act  of 
Congress  approved  August  sixth,  it  is  hardly  to  be  supposed 
that  he  did  it  solely  out  of  respect  to  that  act.  Congressional 
acts  that  were  passed  under  certain  circumstances,  could  not 
be  regarded  as  binding  the  hands  of  the  executive  under  all 
circumstances;  and  when,  in  a  state  of  war,  circumstances 
were  widely  changing  with  the  passage  of  every  day,  they 
would  be  a  poor  rule  of  military  action.  If  he  had  believed 
that  the  time  had  come  for  the  measure  of  liberating  the  slaves 
of  rebels  by  proclamation,  the  act  of  Congress  would  not 
have  stood  in  his  way.  This  act  was  an  embodiment  of  his 
policy  at  that  time,  and  he  used  it  for  his  immediate  purpose. 


The  day  after  ho  gave  his  modifying  order,  lie  received  a 
letter  from  Hon.  Joseph  Holt  of  Kentucky,  in  which  that 
gentleman  spoke  of  the  alarm  and  condemnation  with  which 
the  Union-loving  citizens  of  that  state  had  read  the  proclama- 
tion, and  begged  him  to  modify  it  by  an  order  such  as  he  had 
already  issued.  Judge  Holt  concluded  his  letter  by  say- 
ing :  "  The  magnitude  of  the  interest  at  stake,  and  my  ex- 
treme desire  that  by  no  misapprehension  of  your  sentiments  or 
purposes  shall  the  power  and  fervor  of  the  loyalty  of  Ken- 
tucky be  at  this  moment  abated  or  chilled,  must  be  my  apology 
for  the  frankness  with  which  I  have  addressed  you." 

Complications  in  the  personal  relations  of  General  Fremont 
and  Colonel  F.  P.  Blair,  under  whose  personal  and  family  in- 
fluence General  Fremont  had  received  his  position,  occurred 
at  an  early  day.  Colonel  Blair  doubtless  thought  that  he 
had  not  sufficient  weight  in  the  General's  counsels,  and  the 
General,  doubtless,  exercised  his  right,  in  choosing  his  own 
counselors.  Whether  he  followed  the  advice  of  others,  or 
was  guided  by  his  own  judgment  and  impulses,  he  conducted 
himself  quite  as  much  after  the  manner  of  an  eastern  satrap 
as  a  republican  commander.  The  public  found  it  difficult  to 
get  at  him,  he  kept  around  him  a  large  retinue,  and  dispensed 
patronage  and  contracts  with  a  right  royal  hand.  The  most 
there  is  to  be  said  of  the  matter,  is,  that  it  was  his  way.  Pow- 
er was  in  his  hands,  a  great  work  was  before  him,  great  per- 
sonal popularity  attended  him,  and  the  sudden  elevation  was 
not  without  its  effect  upon  him.  Colonel  Blair,  who  was  the 
gallant  commander  of  the  First  Missouri  Volunteers,  stood  in 
a  peculiar  relation  to  him,  and  was  not,  by  virtue  of  that  re- 
lation, and  by  reason  of  a  high  and  worthily  won  political  and 
social  position,  to  be  lightly  put  aside.  He  came  down  upon 
his  superior  with  a  series  of  charges  which  covered  a  long 
catalogue  of  sins : — neglect  of  duty,  unofficerlike  conduct,  diso- 
bedience of  orders,  conduct  unbecoming  a  gentleman,  extrava- 
gance and  the  waste  of  the  -public  moneys,  and  despotic  and 
tyrannical  conduct.  Among  the  specifications  were  Fremont's 
alleged  failure  to  repair  at  once  to  St.  Louis  to  enter  upon  his 


duties;  his  neglecting  to  reinforce*  Lyon  and  Mulligan^  his 
suffering  Brigadier-General  Hurlburt,  "a  common  drunkard," 
to  continue  in  command ;  his  refusal  to  see  people  who  sought 
his  presence  on  matters  of  urgent  business;  his  violation  of 
the  presidential  order  in  the  matter  of  his  proclamation  and 
the  manumissions  under  it ;  his  persistency  in  keeping  disrepu- 
table persons  in  his  employ ;  and  his  unjust  suppression  of  the 
St.  Louis  Evening  News,  General  Fremont  had  no  better 
opinion  of  Colonel  Blair  than  Blair  had  of  him,  and  placed 
him  under  arrest  for  alluding  disrespectfully  to  superior  officers. 

It  was  a  very  unhappy  quarrel,  and  it  is  quite  likely  that 
there  was  blame  upon  both  sides,  though  it  occurred  between 
men  equally  devoted  to  the  sacred  cause  of  saving  the  country 
to  freedom  and  justice.  It  is  not  necessary  to  believe,  with 
the  enemies  of  General  Fremont,  that  he  found  the  country 
going  to  pieces,  and  intended  to  place  himself  at  the  head  of 
a  huge  north-.western  fraction ;  nor,  with  the  enemies  of  Colo- 
nel Blair,  that  he  was  offended  with  his  General  because  he 
could  not  have  as  good  a  chance  at  stealing  from  the  govern- 
ment as  was  believed  to  be  accorded  to  some  of  the  General's 
California  friends.  Both  were  loyal  men,  both  were  anti- 
slavery  men — Colonel  Blair  being  quite  the  equal  of  General 
Fremont  in  this  respect — and  both  wished  to  serve  their  coun- 
try. Mr.  Lincoln  always  gave  to  each  the  credit  due  to  his 
motives,  and  so-  far  refused  to  mingle  in  the  general  quarrel 
that  grew  out  of  the  difficulty,  that  he  kept  the  good-will  of 
both  sides,  and  compelled  them  to  settle  their  own  differences. 

On  the  sixth  of  September,  General  Grant,  under  General 
Fremont's  command,  occupied  Paducah,  Kentucky,  at  the 
mouth  of  the  Tennessee  River.  Price  and  Jackson  were 
raising  a  formidable  army  for  service  in  Missouri,  and,  on  the 
twelfth  of  September,  compelled  the  surrender  of  .Colonel 
Mulligan  and  his  forces  at  Lexington.  General  Fremont  at 
length  took  the  field  in  person.  On  the  eighth  of  October 
he  left  Jefferson  City  for  Sedalia.  As  he  advanced  with  his 
forces,  Price  retreated,  until  it  was  widely  reported  that  he 
would  give  battle  to  the  national  forces  at  Springfield.  Just 


as  Fremont  was  making  ready  to  engage  the  enemy,  he  was 
overtaken  by  an  order  relieving  him  of  his  command.  He  was 
succeeded  by  General  Hunter;  but  Hunter's  command  was 
brief,  and  was  transferred  at  an  early  day  to  General  Halleck. 

General  Fremont  was  relieved  of  his  command  by  the  Pres- 
ident not  because  of  his  proclamation,  not  because  he  hated 
slavery,  and  not  because  he  believed  him  corrupt  or  vindictive 
or  disloyal.  He  relieved  him  simply  because  he  believed 
that  the  interests  of  the  country,  all  things  considered,  would 
be  subserved  by  relieving  him  and  putting  another  man  in 
his  place.  The  matter  was  the  cause  of  great  excitement  in 
Missouri,  and  of  much  complaint  among  the  radical  anti- 
slavery  men  of  the  country :  but  the  imputations  sought  to  be 
cast  upon  the  President  were  not  fastened  to  him ;  and  did  not, 
four  years  later,  when  Fremont  himself  became  a  candidate 
for  the  presidency,  prevent  the  warmest  anti-slavery  men  from 
giving  Mr.  Lincoln  their  support. 

The  federal  army  under  General  Hunter  retreated  without 
a  battle ;  and  thus  the  campaign,  inaugurated  with  great  show 
and  immense  expense,  was  a  flat  failure. 

In  the  meantime,  General  Eosecrans  finished  up  the  work 
in  Western  Virginia  that  General  McClellan  had  prematurely 
declared,  accomplished,  and  the  army  of  the  Potomac,  un- 
der the  latter  General,  was  swelling  in  numbers,  and  active  in 
organization  and  discipline.  General  McClellan's  popularity 
with  the  army  was  very  great*  They  felt  his  organizing  hand, 
and  regarded  him  with  the  proudest  confidence.  The  coun- 
try, however,  was  becoming  impatient  with  him.  He  would 
spare  no  men  for  any  outside  enterprises,  and  still  rolled  up 
the  numbers  of  his  cumbersome  forces,  though  good  roads  lay 
in  front,  and  pleasant  weather  invited  to  action.  Gvi  the  twen- 
ty-ninth of  August,  General  Butler,  acting  with  a  naval  force 
under  Commodore  Stringham,  took  possession  of  the  Hatteras 
forts,  with  a  force  which  he  had  raised  independently  for  the 
expedition.  This  gave  great  satisfaction  to  the  country,  and 
helped  to  keep  up  the  popular  courage  under  the  depressing 
influence  of  delay  on  the  part  of  the  army  of  the  Potomac. 


Iii  the  month  of  August,  Munson's  Hill,  within  view  of 
the  capitol,  was  occupied  by  the  rebel  forces ;  and,  though  they 
were  not  strong  in  numbers,  and  took  but  limited  pains  to  in- 
trench themselves,  they  remained  there  undisturbed  untH 
nearly  the  last  of  September,  when  they  left  of  their  own  ac- 
cord. On  the  twenty-first  of  October,  there  occurred  a  disas- 
trous battle  and  blunder  at  Ball's  Bluff.  It  was  a  sad  failure 
to  fulfill  the  promise  of  a  magnificent  preparation  for  action. 
The  country  was  disappointed  and  indignant.  The  number 
killed,  drowned,  wounded  and  captured  was  eleven  hundred — 
full  half  that  went  into  the  action.  Here  Colonel  Baker,  the 
President's  friend,  fell;  and,  although  General  McClellan,  in 
his  report  of  the  affair,  said  that,  "situated  as  their  troops 
were — cut  off  alike  from  retreat  or  reinforcements — five  thou- 
sand against  one  thousand  seven  hundred — it  was  not  possible 
that  the  issue  could  have  been  successful,"  the  unmilitary  mind 
will  still  inquire  why,  with  an  immense  army  but  a  few  miles 
away,  they  were  left  or  placed  where  reinforcement  and  re- 
treat were  alike  impossible? 

General  Scott  did  not  like  the  looks  or  management  of 
military  affairs,  and  felt  that  his  place  was  becoming  unpleas- 
ant. Only  a  few  days  after  the  affair  at  Ball's  Bluff,  he  made 
known  to  Mr.  Lincoln  his  desire  to  be  released  from  all  active 
duties,  in  consequence  of  his  increasing  physical  infirmity.  In 
a  letter  dated  November  first,  the  President  acceded  to  his 
request,  and  added:  "The  American  people  will  hear  with 
sadness  and  deep  emotion  that  General  Scott  has  withdrawn 
from  the  active  control  of  the  army,  while  the  President  and 
the  unanimous  Cabinet  express  their  own  and  the  nation's  sym- 
pathy in  his  personal  affliction,  and  their  profound  sense  of  the 
important  public  services  rendered  by  him  to  his  country,  dur- 
ing his  long  and  brilliant  public  career,  among  which  will  ever 
be  gratefully  distinguished  his  faithful  devotion  to  the  Consti- 
tution, the  Union  and  the  flag,  when  assailed  by  parricidal  re- 
bellion." To  do  all  possible  honor  to  the  noble  veteran  who 
had  stood  by  the  country  when  so  many  army  officers  had 
gone  over  to  the  rebellion  under  the  appeal  of  sectional  friend- 


ship — an  appeal  made  to  him  with  all  the  persuasions  that  in- 
genuky  could  devise — the  President  and  his  entire  Cabinet 
waited  upon  him  at  his  residence ;  and  there,  with  his  Secreta- 
ries around  him,  Mr.  Lincoln  read  to  him  his  letter.  It  was  a 
grand  moment  in  the  old  man's  life.  "  This  honor  overwhelms 
me,"  he  responded.  "It  overpays  all  services  I  have  attempted 
to  render  to  my  country.  If  I  had  any  claims  before,  they  are 
all  obliterated  by  this  expression  of  approval  by  the  President, 
with  the  unanimous  support  of  the  Cabinet.  I  know  the 
President  and  this  Cabinet  well — I  know  that  the  country  has 
placed  its  interests  in  this  trying  crisis  in  safe  keeping.  Their 
councils  are  wise ;  their  labors  are  untiring  as  they  are  loyal, 
and  their  course  is  the  right  one." 

Thus,  after  fifty-three  years  of  service  in  the  armies  of  his 
country,  General  Scott  went  into  his  nobly  earned  retirement, 
with  the  blessing  of  his  government  and  the  blessing  of  his 
country  upon  his  venerable  head ;  and  it  is  one  of  the  sweetest 
satisfactions  of  both  to  remember  that  he  lived  to  see  his 
country's  enemies  vanquished,  and  to  hear  of  those  who 
taunted  him  with  faithlessness  to  his  sectional  friends,  humbly 
seeking  pardon  of  the  government  which  they  had  outraged, 
and  which  he  had  so  loyally  supported. 

On  General  Scott's  retirement,  General  McClellan  held  the 
highest  rank  in  the  army,  and  was  intrusted  with  the  chief 

During  the  month  of  November,  the  Union  forces  achieved 
several  important  and  encouraging  successes.  South  Carolina 
was  invaded  by  an  expedition  under  the  joint  command  of 
General  T.  W.  Sherman  and  Commodore  Dupont,  the  latter 
of  whom  achieved  a  brilliant  naval  victory  in  Port  Royal 
Harbor.  Generals  Grant  and  McClernand,  with  a  force  of 
three  thousand  five  hundred  men,  attacked  a  rebel  camp  in 
Missouri  under  General  Polk,  captured  twelve  guns,  burned 
their  camp,  and  took  baggage,  horses  and  many  prisoners. 
The  rebels  were  afterwards  reinforced,  and  compelled  the 
Union  forces  to  return  to  their  transports.  Notwithstanding 
the  fact  that  the  rebels  claimed  a  victory,  the  results  were 


substantially  with  their  assailants.  General  Buckner,  with 
whom  McClellan  was  alleged  to  have  made  his  treaty  of 
neutrality,  had  thrown  off  his  neutral  mask,  and  was  gath- 
erino-  an  army  of  rebels  in  Kentucky,  co-operating  with  Gen- 
eral Bra";«;  who  was  invading  the  state  with  the  determination 
to  force  it  into  secession.  To  meet  and  repel  this  invasion, 
General  W.  T.  Sherman  advanced  with  a  large  force  to 
Bowling  Green,  while  General  Nelson,  on  his  left,  gained  a 
decisive  victory  over  the  rebels  under  Colonel  Williams.  The 
various  operations  of  the  Union  forces  broke  up  the  i*ebel 
project  of  subjugation,  and  re-invigorated  the  efforts  of  the 
Union  men  to  hold  the  state  to  its  loyalty.  General  Halleck 
was  appointed  to  the  command  of  the  army  of  the  West,  and 
General  Buell  took  General  W.  T.  Sherman's  command  in 

The  question  of  slavery  was  an  ever-present  one  during  all 
the  operations  of  the  year.  The  instructions  given  by  the 
War  Department  to  General  Butler  on  the  eighth  of  August, 
were  based  upon  "  the  desire  of  the  President  that  all  existing 
rights  in  all  the  states  should  be  respected  and  maintained;" 
yet  it  was  declared  that  "  the  rights  dependent  on  the  laws 
of  the  states  within  which  military  operations  are  conducted 
must  necessarily  be  subordinate  to  the  military  exigencies  cre- 
ated by  the  insurrection,  if  not  wholly  forfeited  by  the  treas- 
onable conduct  of  the  parties  claiming  them."  The  difficulty 
of  settling  the  claims  of  loyal  masters  was  such  that  it  was 
recommended  to  receive  all  fugitives,  keep  a  record  of  them, 
and  set  them  to  work.  Congress,  the  Secretary  of  War  be- 
lieved, would  provide  for  the  repayment  of  loyal  masters. 
On  the  departure  of  General  T.  W.  Sherman  on  his  expedi- 
tion to  Port  Royal,  Mr.  Cameron  referred  him  to  the  letter 
to  General  Butler  on  this  subject.  He  was  directed  to  receive 
the  services  of  any  persons,  whether  fugitives  from  labor  or 
not,  who  should  offer  them  to  the  national  government.  These 
fugitives  might  be  organized  into  "squads,  companies,  or  oth- 
erwise," though  that  liberty  was  not  intended  to  mean  a  gen- 
eral arming  of  them  for  military  service.  Loyal  masters  were 


to  be  assured,  meantime,  that  Compress  -\voulcl  provide  for  them 
a  just  compensation  for  services  thus  lost  to  them.  The  time 
for  emancipation  had  not  come,  in  the  opinion  of  the  gov- 
ernment. That  Mr.  Lincoln  desired  it,  none  can  doubt ;  but 
he  had  undertaken  to  save  the  Union  under  the  Constitution — 
to  save  the  Union  while  preserving  inviolate  all  the  rights  of 
all  the  states.  He  so  understood  the  oath  by  which  he  was 
invested  with  power.  Whatever  might  be  his  hatred  of  slav- 
ery— and  it  was  the  intensest  passion  of  his  life — he  could  only 
interfere  with  it  as  a  military  necessity — an  essential  means  of 
savins;  the  Union. 


EARLY  in  November,  an  event  occurred  which  gave  to  our 
relations  with  England  a  very  threatening  aspect — an  event 
which  aroused  the  ire  of  the  British  people  to  a  feverish  pitch, 
encouraged  the  rebels,  and  filled  with  uneasiness  the  fi'iends 
of  the  government.  Although  the  blockade,  under  the  ener- 
getic measures  of  the  government,  had  become  something 
very  different  from  a  blockade  on  paper,  there  were  still  many 
ports  in  the  southern  states  which  carried  on  a  large  contra- 
band commerce,  through  the  agency  of  blockade-runners,  the 
majority  of  which  were  owned  in  England,  and  navigated  by 
British  seamen.  The  capture  of  the  Hatteras  forts  and  of  the 
defenses  of  Port  Royal  Harbor  had  shut  two  of  these  ports ; 
but  Charleston,  notwithstanding  all  the  efforts  of  the  block- 
ading fleet,  continued  to  receive  numbers  of  foreign  vessels, 
and  to  dispatch  them  in  safety.  On  the  twelfth  of  October, 
the  steamship  Theodora  shot  out"  of  that  harbor,  with  two 
notorious  rebels  on  board,  James  M.  Mason  and  John  Slidell, 
both  perjured  senators  of  the  United  States,  and  accredited 
by  the  Davis  government  respectively  to  the  governments  of 
England  and  France.  They  went  to  get  recognition  for  their 
government.  They  went  as  enemies  of  the  United  States. 

Proceeding  to  Cuba,  these  emissaries  took  passage  from 
Havana  on  the  seventh  of  November,  on  the  British  mail 
steamer  Trent,  bound  immediately  for  St.  Thomas.  On  the 
following  day,  the  Trent  was  hailed  by  the  United  States 
frigate  San  Jacinto,  Captain  AVilkes,  who  directed  a  shot 


across  her  bows  to  bring  her  to.  Then  two  officers  and 
twenty  men,  more  or  less,  put  off  from  the  S;m  elncinto, 
boarded  the  Trent,  and,  after  a  search,  took  out  Mr.  Ma<on 
and  Mr.  Slidell  and  their  two  secretaries,  and,  by  force,  against 
the  protest  of  the  Trent's  officers,  bore  them  to  their  vessel. 
These  rebel  emissaries  Captain  Wilkes  brought  to  the  United 
States,  and  they  were  lodged  in  Fort  Warren. 

The  excitement  which  this  affair  produced  in  both  countries 
was  intense,  and  but  little  favorable  to  its  calm  consideration. 
It  was  unquestionably  a  doubtful  proceeding,  and  cool  British 
blood  came  up  to  a  boiling  heat  wherever  in  England  or  her 
provinces  the  intelligence  of  the  affair  was  published.  The 
news  found  the  loyal  people  of  America  smarting  under  a 
sense  of  the  injustice  of  the  relation  which  England  had  as- 
sumed toward  their  struggle,  and  sensitive  to  the  insults  which 
their  people  had  received  from  the  British  press  and  public. 
America  came  to  care  less  for  England  afterward ;  but  then 
she  was  sensitive  in  every  fiber  to  her  opinion,  her  la,ck  of 
sympathy,  and  her  covert  aid  to  the  rebellion.  To  the  Amer- 
ican public  the  news  of  this  capture  was  most  grateful.  They 
felt  that  whatever  the  laws  of  nations  might  be — and  in  these 
they  were  but  little  versed — it  was  morally  right  that  these 
men  should  be  in  their  power,  and  that  it  was  morally  wrong 
that  any  other  power  should  have  our  traitors  under  its  pro- 
tection. So  they  greeted  the  event  with  huzzas,  and  made 
a  hero  of  the  impulsive  Captain  Wilkes,  who,  though  a  most 
loyal  and  excellent  person,  was  possessed  by  a  zeal  that  some- 
times surpassed  his  discretion. 

The  effect  of  this  capture  was,  of  course,  foreseen  by  the 
government ;  and  on  the  thirtieth  of  November  Mr.  Seward 

O  * 

communicated  to  Mr.  Adams,  our  minister  in  England,  a 
statement  of  the  facts,  with  the  assurance  that  Captain  Wilkes 
had  acted  without  any  instructions  from  the  government,  and 
that  our  government  was  prepared  to  discuss  the  matter  in  a 
friendly  spirit,  so  soon  as  the  position  of  the  British  govern- 
ment should  be  made  known.  Earl  Russell  wrote  under  the 
same  date  to  Lord  Lyons,  rehearsing  his  understanding  of  the 


facts  of  the  case,  and  saying  that  his  government  was  "willing 
to  believe  that  the  naval  officer  who  committed  the  aggression 
was  not  acting  in  compliance  with  any  authority  from  his 
government,"  because  the  government  of  the  United  States 
"must  be  fully  aware  that  the  British  government  could  not 
allow  such  an  affront  to  the  national  honor  to  pass  without 
full  reparation."  The  minister  expressed  the  hope  that  the 
United  States  would,  of  its  own  motion,  release  the  commis- 
sioners, and  make  an  apology. 

This  was  a  very  sensible  and  neighborly  'dispatch,  but  Earl 
Eussell  seems  to  have  been  subjected  afterward  to  a  pressure 
that  changed  his  feelings  and  sharpened  his  policy,  for,  in  a 
subsequent  note,  he  transformed  his  polite  dispatch  into  an 
insulting  ultimatum.  Lord  Lyons  was  directed  to  wait  seven 
days  after  having  made  his  demand  for  reparation ;  and  then, 
in  case  no  answer  should  be  given,  or  any  other  answer  should 
be  given  than  a  full  compliance  with  the  terms  of  the  demand, 
he  should  pack  up  the  archives  of  the  legation,  and  return  to 
London,  bringing  his  archives  with  him.  Usually  an  ulti- 
matum comes  at  the  end  of  a  long  series  of  negotiations — after 
all  the  resources  of  diplomacy  are  exhausted — after  there  is 
plainly  seen  to  be  a  warlike,  or  unreasonable,  or  contumacious 
spirit  on  the  part  of  the  power  from  which  redress  is  sought. 
Earl  Russell  gave  Mr.  Lincoln  his  ultimatum  at  the  start.  It 
was  an  insult — a  threat.  It  was  uttered  to  gratify  the  war- 
like feeling  of  the  British  people.  There  is  no  question  that 
they  desired  war ;  and  when  the  British  people  are  mentioned 
in  this  connection,  those  are  meant  who,  in  print  and  speech, 
represent  them  and  assume  to  speak  for  them.  War  with 
America  was  looked  upon  in  England  as  probable.  Measures 
were  taken  to  prepare  for  it.  Indeed,  many  of  the  London 
journals  regarded  war  as  inevitable;  and  when  the  peaceful 
nature  of  Mr.  Seward's  first  dispatches  were  known,  the 
Morning  Post  hastened  to  publish  in  large  type  an  official 
contradiction  of  the  news.  "The  war  will  be  terrible,"  said 
the  London  journals.  '•  It  will  begin  by  a  recognition  of  the 
South,  by  the  alliance  of  the  South,  by  the  assured  triumph 


of  the  South."  That  was  the  precise  point.  "War  was  wanted 
by  the  people,  that  their  cherished  desire  for  the  disruption  of 
the  Republic  might  be  fulfilled ;  and  they  were  disappointed 
when  they  found  that  even  an  impertinent  ultimatum  could 
not  bring  it. 

If  British  statesmen  sympathized  with  these  views  and  feel- 
ings,— and  some  of  them  did, — it  showed  how  poorly  informed 
they  were;  for  there  was  never  anything  in  the  difficulty, 
from  the  first,  to  give  either  government  alarm.  The  British 
people  found  that'  there  was  a  government  at  Washington, — 
calm,  dignified  and  intelligent,  not  under  the  control  of  the 
mob  at  all,  and  showing,  in  the  cool  independence  of  its  action, 
its  entire  freedom  from  the  misdirected  passions  of  the  people. 
Only  in  the  early  approval  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Navy  and 
of  the  lower  House  of  Congress,  awarded  to  Captain  Wilkes, 
was  there  anything  to  give  the  British  government  cause  of 
alarm,  or  ground  of  serious  complaint ;  and  the  news  of  these 
ill-advised  indorsements  reached  England  after  the  tempest 
of  passion  had  been  spent. 

On  the  twenty-sixth  of  December  Mr.  Seward  addressed  a 
note  to  Lord  Lyons,  in  which  he  elaborately  discussed  all  the 
questions  growing  out  of  the  case.  The  paper  was  one  of 
great  moderation,  and  consummate  ability — indeed,  one  of 
the  finest  to  which  he  ever  gave  utterance.  It  was  a  profound 
lesson  in  the  law  of  nations,  which  could  not  be  read  without 
benefit  by  statesmen  everywhere.  By  it  the  British  govern- 
ment learned  that  there  were  two  sides  to  the  case,  and  that 
there  was  something  to  be  said  upon  the  side  of  Captain  "\Vilkes; 
for  in  it  he  argued  most  ingeniously,  if  not  in  all  instances  de- 
cisively, that  Messrs.  Mason  and  Slidell  and  their  dispatches 
were  contraband  of  war,  that  Captain  Wilkes  might  lawfully 
stop  and  search  the  Trent  for  contraband  persons  and  dis- 
patches, and  that  he  had  the  right  to  capture  the  persons  pre- 
sumed to  have  contraband  dispatches.  He  did  not,  however, 
exercise  the  right  of  capture  in  the  manner  allowed  and  recog- 
nized by  the  laws  of  nations,  as  understood  and  practically 
entertained  by  the  American  government.  "If  I  decide  this 


case  in  favor  of  my  own  government,"  said  Mr.  Seward,  "I 
must  disavow  its  most  cherished  principles,  and  reverse  and 
forever  abandon  its  essential  policy.  If  I  maintain  those  prin- 
ciples and  adhere  to  that  policy,  I  must  surrender  the  case  it- 
self." He  therefore  declared  that  the  persons  held  in  military 
custody  in  Fort  Warren  ^lould  be  "cheerfully  liberated." 
Mr.  Seward  could  not  forbear  to  say  that,  if  the  safety  of  the 
Union  required  their  detention,  they  would  have  been  detained ; 
to  draw  a  contrast  between  the  action  of  our  government  and 
that  of  Great  Britain  under  similar  circumstances ;  and  to  in- 
dulge in  the  irony  that  "  the  claim  of  the  British  government 
is  not  made  in  a  discourteous  manner." 

Earl  Kussell  was  satisfied  with  the  "reparation."  The  pris- 
oners were  released,  peace  between  the  two  nations  was  kept, 
the  war  feeling  subsided,  disunion  sympathizers  all  over  Europe 
were  disgusted  with  Mr.  Seward's  pusillanimity,  and  at  the 
South  there  was  no  attempt  to  disguise  the  disappointment 
felt  at  the  result.  The  hopes  excited  in  the  South  by  the  dif- 
ficulty are  well  expressed  in  the  language  of  Pollard's  "  His- 
tory of  the  First  Year  of  the  War,"  which  says:  "Providence 
was  declared  to  oe  in  our  favor;  the  incident  of  the  Trent 
was  looked  upon  almost  as  a  special  dispensation ;  and  it  was 
said  in  fond  imagination  that  on  its  deck  and  in  the  trough  of 

O  O 

the  weltering  Atlantic  the  key  of  the  blockade  had  at  last 
been  lost."  The  same  author  continues:  "The  surrender 
was  an  exhibition  of  meanness  and  cowardice  unparalleled  in 
the  political  history  of  the  civilized  world."  Patriots  may 
well  be  content  with  a  decision  which  brought  grief  to  their 
enemies  everywhere,  and'raised  the  whole  nation  in  the  respect 
of  Christendom. 

On  the  second  day  of  December,  Congress  met  in  regular 
session,  and  on  the  following  day  Mr.  Lincoln  sent  in  his  an- 
nual message.  The  message  opened  with  an  allusion  to  the  at- 
titude of  foreign  governments,  and  a  statement  of  the  fact  that, 
should  those  governments  be  controlled  only  by  material  con- 
siderations, they  would  find  that  the  quickest  and  best  way 
out  of  the  embarrassments  of  commerce  consequent  upon  the 


American  difficulties,  would  be  rather  through  the  maintenance, 
than  the  destruction,  of  the  Union.  It  was  undoubtedly  with 
reference  to  the  excitement  then  existing  concerning  the  Trent 
affair  that  he  penned  the  sentence :  "  Since,  however,  it  is  ap- 
parent that  here,  as  in  every  other  state,  foreign  dangers  nec- 
essarily attend  domestic  difticultiAi  I  recommend  that  adequate 
and  ample  measures  be  adopted  for  maintaining  the  public 
defenses  on  every  side." 

The  message  announced  the  financial  measures  of  the  o-ov- 

o  f) 

eminent  to  have  been  very  successful;  recommended  a  re-or- 
ganization of  the  Supreme  Court,  the  machinery  of  which  the 
country  had  outgrown ;  suggested  a  codification  or  digest  of 
the  statutes  of  Congress,  so  as  to  reduce  the  six  thousand  pages 
upon  which  they  were  printed  to  the  measure  of  a  volume ;  in- 
dicated his  wish  that  the  Court  of  Claims  should  have  power 
to  make  its  decisions  final,  with  only  the  right  of  appeal  on 
questions  of  law  to  the  Supreme  Court;  asked  for  increased 
attention  on  the  part  of  Congress  to  the  interests  of  agricul- 
ture ;  expressed  his  gratification  with  the  success  of  efforts  for 
the  suppression  of  the  African  slave  trade ;  and  broached  a 
plan  for  colonizing  such  slaves  as  had  been  freed  by  the  oper- 
ation of  the  confiscation  act,  passed  on  the  previous  sixth  of 
August,  on  territory  to  be  acquired.  The  progress  made 
by  the  federal  armies,  and  by  his  own  careful  and  moderate 
management  of  affairs  in  the  border  states,  is  shown  in  the 
following  passage: 

"The  last  ray  of  hope  for  preserving  the  Union  peaceably,  expired 
at  the  assault  upon  Fort  Sumter;  and  a  general  review  of  what  has  oc- 
curred since  may  not  be  unprofitable.  What  was  painfully  uncertain 
then,  is  much  better  defined  and  more  distinct  now,  and  the  progress 
of  events  is  plainly  in  the  right  direction.  The  insurgents  confidently 
claimed  a  strong  support  from  north  of  Mason  and  Dixon's  line;  and 
the  friends  ol  the  Union  were  not  f/ee  from  apprehension  on  the  point. 
This,  however,  was  soon  settled  definitely,  and  on  the  right  side.  South 
of  the  line,  noble  little  Delaware  led  off  rigfit  from  the  first  Maryland 
was  made  to  seem  against  the  Union.  Our  soldiers  were  assaulted, 
bridges  were  burned,  and  railroads  torn  up  within  her  limits;  and  we 
were  many  days,  at  one  time,  without  the  ability  to  bring  a  single  regi- 


inent  over  her  soil  to  the  capital.  Now  her  bridges  find  railroads  are 
repaired  and  open  to  the  Government;  she  already  gives  seven  regi- 
ments to  the  cause  of  the  Union,  and  none  to  the  enemy;  and  her 
people,  at  a  regular  election,  have  sustained  the  Union  by  a  larger  ma- 
jority and  a  larger  aggregate  vote  than  they  ever  before  gave  to  any 
candidate  or  any  question.  Kentucky,  too,  for  some  time  in  doubt,  is 
now  decidedly  and,  I  think,  unchangeably  ranged  on  the  side  of  the 
Union.  Missouri  is  comparatively  quiet,  and,  I  believe,  can  not  again 
be  overrun  by  the  insurrectionists.  These  three  states  of  Maryland, 
Kentucky  and  Missouri,  neither  of  which  would  promise  a  single  soldier 
at  first,  have  now  an  aggregate  of  not  less  than  forty  thousand  in  the 
field  for  the  Union;  while  of  their  citizens,  certainly  nqt  more  than  a 
third  of  that  number,  and  they  of  doubtful  whereabouts  and  doubtful 
existence,  are  in  arms  against  it.  After  a  somewhat  bloody  struggle 
of  months,  winter  closes  on  the  Union  people  of  Western  Virginia, 
leaving  them  masters  of  their  own  country. 

"  An  insurgent  force  of  about  fifteen  hundred,  for  months  dominating 
the  narrow  peninsular  region  constituting  the  counties  of  Accomac  and 
Northampton,  and  known  as  the  Eastern  Shore  of  Virginia,  together 
with  some  contiguous  parts  of  Maryland,  have  laid  down  their  arms; 
and  the  people  there  have  renewed  their  allegiance  to,  and  accepted  the 
protection  of  the  old  flag.  This  leaves  no  armed  insurrectionist  north 
of  the  Potomac,  or  east  of  the  Chesapeake. 

''  Also,  we  have  obtained  a  footing  at  each  of  the  isolated  points  on 
the  southern  coast,  of  Hatteras,  Port  Royal,  Tybee  Island  near  Savan- 
nah, and  Ship  Island;  and  we  likewise  have  some  general  accounts  of 
popular  movements  in  behalf  of  the  Union  in  North  Carolina  and  Ten- 

"  These  things  demonstrate  that  the  cause  of  the  Union  is  advancing 
steadily  and  certainly  southward." 

In  the  development  of  the  insurrection,  Mr.  Lincoln  de- 
tected a  growing  enmity  to  the  first  principle  of  popular  gov- 
ernment— the  rights  of  the  people.  In  the  grave  and  well 
considered  public  documents  of  the  rebels  he  found  labored 
arguments  to  prove  that  "  large  control  of  the  people  in  gov- 
ernment is  the  source  of  all  political  evil.  Monarchy  itself," 
he  adds,  '*  is  sometimes  hinted  at  as  a  possible  refuge  from  the 
power  of  the  people."  Proceeding  from  this,  Mr.  Lincoln  said: 

"  It  is  not  needed,  nor  fitting  here,  that  a  general  argument  sliould 
be  made  in  favor  of  popular  institutions;  but  there  is  one  point,  with  its 
connections,  not  so  hackneyed  as  most  others,  to  which  I  ask  a  brief 


attention.  It  is  the  effort  to  place  capital  on  an  equal  footing  with,  if 
not  above,  labor,  in  the  structure  of  the  government.  It  is  assumed  that 
labor  is  available  only  in  connection  with  capital;  that  nobody  labors 
unless  somebody  else,  owning  capital,  somehow  by  the  use  of  it  induces 
him  to  labor.  This  assumed,  it  is  next  considered  whether  it  is  best 
that  capital  shall  hire  laborers,  and  thus  induce  them  to  work  by  their 
own  consent,  or  buy  them,  and  drive  them  to  it  without  their  consent. 
Having  proceeded  so  far,  it  is  naturally  concluded  that  all  laborers  are 
either  hired  laborers  or  what  we  call  slaves  And  further,  it  is  assumed 
that  whoever  is  once  a  hired  laborer,  is  fixed  in  that  condition  for  life. 

"Now,  there  is  no  such  relation  between  capital  and  labor  as  assumed; 
nor  is  there  any  such  thing  as  a  free  man  being  tixed  for  life  m  the  con- 
dition of  a  hired  laborer  Both  these  assumptions  are  false,  and  all  in- 
ferences from  them  are  groundless. 

"  Labor  is  prior  to  and  independent  of  capital.  Capital  is  only  the 
fruit  of  labor,  and  could  never  have  existed  if  labor  had  not  first  ex- 
isted. Labor  is  the  superior  of  capital,  and  deserves  much  the  higher 
consideration.  Capital  has  its  rights,  which  are  as  worthy  of  protection 
as  any  other  rights.  Nor  is  it  denied  that  there  is,  and  probably  always 
will  be,  a  relation  between  labor  and  capital,  producing  mutual  benefits. 
The  error  is  in  assuming  that  the  whole  labor  of  the  community  exists 
within  that  relation.  A  few  men  own  capital,  and  those  few  avoid  labor 
themselves,  and,  with  their  capital,  hire  or  buy  another  few  to  labor  for 
them.  A  large  majority  belong  to  neither  class — neither  work  for  oth- 
ers, nor  have  others  working  for  them.  In  most  of  the  southern  states, 
a  majority  of  the  whole  people  of  all  colors  are  neither  slaves  nor  mas- 
ters ;  while  in  the  northern,  a  large  majority  are  neither  hirers  nor 
hired.  Men,  with  their  families — wives,  sons,  and  daughters — work  for 
themselves,  on  their  farms,  in  their  houses,  and  in  their  shops,  taking 
the  whole  product  to  themselves,  and  asking  no  favors  of  capital  on 
the  one  hand,  nor  of  hired  laborers  or  slaves  on  the  other.  It  is  not 
forgotten  that  a  considerable  number  of  persons  mingle  their  own  labor 
with  capital — that  is,  they  labor  with  their  own  hands,  and  also  buy  or 
hire  others  to  labor  for  them;  but  this  is  only  a  mixed,  and  not  a  dis- 
tinct class.  No  principle  stated  is  disturbed  by  the  existence  of  this 
mixed  class 

"  Again :  as  has  already  been  said,  there  is  not  of  necessity  any  such 
thing  as  the  free  hired  laborer  being  fixed  to  that  condition  for  life. 
Many  independent  men  everywhere  in  these  states,  a  few  years  back  in 
their  lives,  were  hired  laborers.  The  prudent,  penniless  beginner  in 
the  world,  labors  for  wages  awhile,  saves  a  surplus  with  which  to  buy 
tools  or  land  for  himself,  then  labors  on  his  own  account  another  while, 
and  at  length  hires  another  new  beginner  to  help  him  This  is  the  just 
and  generous  and  prosperous  system,  which  opens  the  way  to  all,  gives 


hope  to  all,  and  consequent  energy  and  progress,  and  improvement  of 
condition  to  all.  No  men  living  are  more  worthy  to  be  trusted  than 
those  who  toil  up  from  poverty — none  less  inclined  to  take  or  touch 
aught  which  they  have  not  honestly  earned.  Let  them  beware  of  sur- 
rendering a  political  power  which  they  already  possess,  and  which,  if 
surrendered,  will  surely  be  used  to  close  the  door  of  advancement 
against  such  as  they,  and  to  fix  new  disabilities  and  burdens  upon  them, 
till  all  of  liberty  shall  be  lost." 

Aside  from  the  bills  passed  for  sustaining  the  war,  and  sus- 
taining the  President  in  his  mode  of  and  means  for  suppressing 
the  rebellion,  very  little  important  action  was  taken  by  this 
session  of  Congress,  that  did  not  relate  to  slavery.  The  ques- 
tion of  "  arbitrary  arrests,"  of  which  the  enemies  of  the  Pres- 
ident made  loud  complaint,  came  up,  and  Mr.  Lincoln  was 
sustained  in  the  House  by  a  vote  of  one  hundred  and  eight  to 
twenty-six.  A  provision  was  made  for  the  issue  of  legal- 
tender  notes,  for  increasing  the  internal  revenue,  and  estab- 
lishing a  basis  for  the  payment  of  interest  on  loans,  in  accord- 
ance with  the  policy  of  Mr.  Chase,  the  distinguished  Secretary 
of  the  Treasury;  and  a  confiscation  act  was  passed,  more 
stringent  than  its  predecessor. 

We  now  enter  upon  a  review  of  that  series  of  measures  and 
movements  which  culminated  in  the  overthrow  of  slavery; 
and,  as  Mr.  Lincoln  has  been  assailed  on  one  side  for  being  too 
slow,  and  on  the  other  for  being  too  precipitate,  these  move- 
ments and  measures  deserve  careful  consideration. 

If  there  is  one  thing  that  stands  out  more  prominently  than 
any  other  in  Mr.  Lincoln's  history,  it  is  his  regard  for  the 
Constitution  and  the  laws.  Especially  was  this  the  case  in 
relation  to  that  clause  of  the  Constitution  which  protected 
slavery,  and  all  the  laws  by  which  .the  relation  of  master  and 
'slave  was  preserved.  This  was  not  attributable  to  his  love 
of  slavery,  for  he  hated  it ;  but  it  was  because  that  on  this 
point  only  was  he  suspected,  and  on  this  point  only  was  there 
any  sensitiveness  in  the  nation.  He  voluntarily  and  frequently 
declared  that  he  considered  the  slaveholders  entitled  to  a  fugi- 
tive slave  law.  By  the  Constitution  he  was  determined  to 
stand ;  yet  there  is  evidence  that  from  the  first  he  considered 


emancipation  to  be  tho  logical  result  of  persistence  in  rebellion. 
As  the  rebellion  progressed,  and  the  rebels  themselves  had 
forfeited  all  right  to  constitutional  protection  for  their  peculiar 
institution,  he  felt  himself  still  withheld  from  meddling  with 
slavery  by  any  sweeping  measure,  for,  in  the  four  border 
states — Maryland,  Delaware,  Kentucky  and  Missouri — which 
had  not  seceded,  the  government  had  many  friends,  whose 
hands  he  felt  it  his  duty  to  strengthen  by  every  possible  means. 
He  saw  the  time  of  emancipation  coming,  but  he  wished  to  save 
them;  and  this  was  the  principal  reason  for  his  delay.  How 
faithfully  he  endeavored  to  do  this,  and  with  how  little  avail, 
will  appear  in  the  narrative.  Amid  the  attacks  of  bitter  po- 
litical foes,  and  the  reproaches  of  well-meaning  but  impatient 
friends,  he  had  a  difficult  path  to  pursue. 

Following  Mr.  Lincoln's  lead,  Mr.  Seward  had  announced 
to  foreign  governments  that  no  change  in  the  institutions  of 
the  South  was  contemplated.  General  McClellan  had  abund- 
ant reason  in  the  President's  position  for  assuring  the  people 
of  Virginia,  as  he  did,  that  he  contemplated  nothing  of  the 
kind.  But  the  people  were  becoming  discontented  with  this 
mild  policy,  and  Congress  obeyed  their  voice  by  an  early 
tablino-  of  the  Crittenden  resolution,  which  had  satisfied  that 

O  ' 

body  at  their  session  in  July. 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  quick  to  see  the  tendency  of  the  public 
mind,  and  began  at  once  to  shape  his  measures  for  the  re- 
sult which  could  not  long  be  delayed.  On  the  sixth  of  March, 
he  sent  a  message  to  Congress,  recommending  the  passage  of 
a  joint  resolution  which  should  be  substantially  as  follows : 

"Re?olved:  That  the  United  States  ought  to  co-operate  with  any 
state  which  may  gradually  adopt  abolishment  of  slavery,  giving  to  such 
state  pecuniary  aid,  to  be  used  by  such  state  in  its  discretion,  to  com- 
pensate for  inconveniences,  public  and  private,  produced  by  such  change 
of  system." 

"If  the  proposition  contained  in  the  resolution  docs  not 
meet  the  approval  of  Congress  and  the  country,"  added  Mr. 
Lincoln,  "there  is  an  cn;l;  but  if  it  docs  command  such  ap- 
proval, I  deem  it  of  importance  that  the  states  and  peoule 


immediately  interested  should  be  at  once  distinctly  notified  of 
the  fact,  so  that  they  may  begin  to  consider  whether  to  ac- 
cept or  reject  it."  It  was  Mr.  Lincoln's  opinion  that  one  ot 
the  severest  blows  the  rebellion  could  receive  would  be  the 
abolition  of  slavery  in  the  border  states.  To  deprive  the 
rebels  of  the  hope  of  securing  the  still  loyal  slave  states,  he 
believed  would  be  substantially  to  end  the  rebellion.  If  these 
states  should  abolish  slavery,  it  would  in  effect  be  saying  to 
the  confederacy,  "  We  will  join  you  under  no  circumstances." 
He  believed  that  gradual  was  better  than  sudden  emancipa- 
tion ;  and  that,  as  a  war  measure,  the  government  would  make 
the  scheme  of  compensation  a  paying  one.  Still  true  to  his 
old  tenderness  on  the  subject  of  national  interference  with 
slavery,  he  took  pains  to  show  that  his  plan  threw  the  whole 
matter  into  the  hands  of  the  states  themselves. 

There  was  kindly  warning  to  his  friends  in  the  border  slave 
states,  in  these  words: 

"  Tn  the  annual  message  of  last  December,  I  thought  fit  to  say — '  The 
Union  must  be  preserved ;  and  hence  all  indispensable  means  must  be 
employed.'  J  said  this  not  hastily,  but  deliberately.  War  has  been 
made,  and  continues  to  be,  an  indispensable  means  to  this  end.  A 
practical  re-acknowledgment  of  the  national  authority  would  render  the 
•war  unnecessary,  and  it  would  at  once  cease.  If,  however,  resistance 
continues,  the  war  must  also  continue;  and  it  is  impossible  to  foresee 
all  the  incidents  which  may  attend,  and  all  the  ruin  which  may  follow  it. 
Such  as  may  seem  indispensable,  or  may  obviously  promise  great  effic- 
iency toward  ending  the  struggle,  must  and  will  come.  The  proposition 
now  made  (though  an  offer  only),  I  hope  it  may  be  esteemed  no  offense 
to  ask  whether  the  pecuniary  consideration  tendered  would  not  be  of 
more  value  to  the  states  and  private  persons  concerned,  than  are  the  in- 
stitutions and  property  in  it,  in  the  present  aspect  of  affairs. 

"  While  it  is  true  that  the  adoption  of  the  proposed  resolution  would 
be  merely  initiatory,  and  not  within  itself  a  practical  measure,  it  is  rec- 
ommended in  the  hope  that  it  would  soon  lead  to  important  practical 
results.  In  full  view  of  my  great  responsibility  to  God  and  my  country, 
I  earnestly  beg  the  attention  of  Congress  and  the  people  to  the  subject." 

It  took  no  special  degree  of  sagacity  to  learn  what  this 
passage  meant ;  but  those  for  whom  this  thoughtful  measure 
was  intended,  though  the  resolution  went  through  both 


Houses  of  Congress,  and  stood  as  a  pledge  of  compensation 
for  emancipation,  turned  their  backs  upon  it.  Only  a  very 
few  members  from  the  border  states  voted  for  it.  But  the 
President  could  not  let  the  matter  stop  there.  He  saw  that 
emancipation  would  surely  come  as  a  war  measure ;  and  that 
these  slave  states  that  had  stood  by  him  through  much  diffi- 
culty, would  lose,  in  that  event,  that  which  the  Constitution 
recognized  as  their  property. 

Before  the  close  of  the  session,  he  invited  the  senators  and 
representatives  from  those  states  to  a  conference,  at  the  Exe- 
cutive Mansion.  It  was  early  in  July ;  and,  while  Congress 
had  been  talking  and  acting,  McClellan  had  been  fighting 
with  very  unsatisfactory  results.  The  nation  was  depressed 
by  reverses ;  and  Mr.  Lincoln  wished  to  give  these  men  and 
the  people  they  represented  another  chance  to  escape  from 
the  loss  which  he  felt  must  soon  befall  them.  Having  con- 
vened them,  he  read  to  them  this  carefully  prepared  address, 
in  which  he  argued  his  own  case  and  theirs,  and  appealed  to 
them  to  save  themselves  and  the  country : 

"Gentlemen — After  the  adjournment  of  Congress,  now  near,  I  shall 
have  no  opportunity  of  seeing  you  for  several  months.  Believing  that 
you  of  the  border  states  hold  more  power  for  good  than  any  other 
•qual  number  of  members,  I  feel  it  a  duty  which  I  cannot  justifiably 
waive,  to  make  this  appeal  to  you. 

"  I  intend  no  reproach  or  complaint  when  I  assure  you  that,  in  my 
opinion,  if  you  all  had  voted  for  the  resolution  in  the  gradual  emanci- 
pation message  of  last  March,  the  war  would  now  be  substantially 
ended.  And  the  plan  therein  proposed  is  yet  one  of  the  most  potent 
and  swift  means  of  ending  it.  Let  the  states  which  are  in  rebellion  see 
definitely  and  certainly  that  in  no  event  will  the  states  you  represent 
ever  join  their  proposed  confederacy,  and  they  cannot  much  longer 
maintain  the  contest.  But  you  cannot  divest  them  of  their  hope  to 
ultimately  have  you  with  them,  as  long  as  you  show  a  determination  to 
perpetuate  the  institution  within  your  own  states.  Beat  them  at  elec- 
tions, as  you  have  overwhelmingly  done,  and,  nothing  daunted,  they 
still  claim  you  as  their  own.  You  and  I  know  what  the  lever  of  their 
power  is.  Break  that  lever  before  their  faces,  and  they  can  shake  you 
no  more  forever. 

"Most  of  you  have  treated  me  with  kindness  and  consideration;  and 
I  trust  you  will  not  now  think  I  improperly  touch  what  is  exclusively 


your,  when,  for  the  sake  of  the  whole  country,  I  ask,  can  you,  for 
your  states,  do  better  than  to  take  the  course  I  urge?  Discarding 
punctilio  and  maxims  adapted  to  more  manageable  times,  and  looking 
only  to  the  unprecedentedly  stern  facts  of  our  case,  can  you  do  better  in 
any  possible  event?  You  prefer  that  the  constitutional  relation  of  the 
states  to  the  nation  shall  be  practically  restored  without  disturbance  of 
the  institution :  and  if  this  were  done,  my  whole  duty,  in  this  respect, 
under  the  Constitution  au4  niy  oath  of  office,  would  be  performed. 
But  it  is  not  done,  and  we  are  trying  to  accomplish  it  by  war.  The  in- 
cidents of  the  war  cannot  be  avoided.  If  the  war  continues  long,  as  it 
must  if  the  object  be  not  sooner  attained,  the  institution  in  your  states 
will  be  extinguished  by  mere  friction  and  abrasion — by  the  mere  inci- 
dents of  the  war.  It  will  be  gone,  and  you  will  have  nothing  valuable 
in  lieu  of  it.  Much  of  its  value  is  gone  already.  How  much  better 
for  you  and  for  your  people,  to  take  the  step  which  at  once  shortens  the 
war,  and  secures  substantial  compensation  for  that  which  is  sure  t9  be 
wholly  lost  in  any  other  event!  How  much  better  to  thus  save  the 
money  which  else  we  sink  forever  in  the  war !  How  much  better  to  do 
it  while  we  can,  lest  the  war  ere  long  render  us  pecuniarily  unable  to 
do  it!  How  much  better  for  you,  as  seller,  and  the  nation,  as  buyer,  to 
sell  out  and  buy  out  that  without  which  the  war  never  could  have  been, 
than  to  sink  both  the  thing  to  be  sold  and  the  price  of  it  in  cutting  one 
another's  throats ! 

"I  do  not  speak  of  emancipation  at  once,  but  of  a  decision  at  once 
to  emancipate  gradually.  Room  in  South  America  for  colonization  can 
be  obtained  cheaply,  and  in  abundance ;  and,  when  numbers  shall  be 
large  enough  to  be  company  and  encouragement  for  one  another,  the 
freed  people  will  not  be  so  reluctant  to  go. 

"I  am  pressed  with  a  difficulty  not  yet  mentioned — one  which  threat- 
ens division  among  those  who,  united,  are  none  too  strong.  An  in- 
stance of  it  is  known  to  you.  General  Hunter  is  an  honest  man.  He 
was,  and  I  hope  still  is,  my  friend.  I  valued  him  none  the  less  for  his 
agreeing  with  me  in  the  general  wish  that  all  men  everywhere  could  be 
free.  lie  proclaimed  all  men  free  within  certain  states,  and  I  repudiated 
the  proclamation.  He  expected  more  good  and  less  harm  from  the 
measure  than  I  could  believe  would  follow.  Yet,  in  repudiating  it,  I 
gave  dissatisfaction,  if  not  offense,  to  many  whose  support  the  country 
cannot  afford  to  lose.  And  this  is  not  the  end  of  it.  The  pressure  in 
this  direction  is  still  upon  me,  and  is  increasing.  By  conceding  what  I 
now  ask,  you  can  relieve  me,  and,  much  more,  can  relieve  the  country  in 
this  important  point. 

"  Upon  these  considerations  I  have  again  begged  your  attention  to 
the  message  of  March  last.  Before  leaving  the  capital,  consider  and 
discuss  it  among  yourselves.  You  are  patriots  and  statesmen,  and  as 


such  I  pray  you  consider  this  proposition ;  and  at  the  least  commend  it 
to  the  consideration  of  your  states  and  people.  As  you  would  perpetu- 
ate popular  government  for  the  best  people  in  the  world,  I  beseech  you 
that  you  do  in  nowise  omit  this.  Our  common  country  is  in  great  peril, 
demanding  the  loftiest  views  and  boldest  action  to  bring  a  speedy  re- 
lief. Once  relieved,  its  form  of  government  is  saved  to  the  world ;  its 
beloved  history  and  cherished  memories  are  vindicated;  and  its  happy 
future  fully  assured,  and  rendered  inconceivably  grand.  To  you,  more 
than  to  any  others,  the  privilege  is  given  to  assure  that  happiness  and 
swell  that  grandeur,  and  to  link  your  own  names  therewith  forever." 

"What  Mr.  Lincoln  said  in  this  paper,  touching  the  dissatis- 
faction with  which  his  revocation  of  General  Hunter's  order 
of  emancipation  had  been  received,  was  true.  People  were 
tirf  d  of  the  governmental  protection  of  slavery  in  the  rebel 
states ;  and  they  had  reason  to  be.  Mr.  Lincoln  felt  all  this, 
but  he  could  not  forsake  his  friends,  until  he  had  tried  every 
means  to  save  them.  In  his  revocation  of  General  Hunter's 
order,  one  of  the  most  beautiful  and  touching  appeals  that 
man  ever  penned,  occurs — an  appeal  which  the  mistaken  men 
before  him  had  already  had  the  opportunity  of  reading.  In 
that  paper,  after  quoting  the  resolution  which  Congress  had 
passed  pledging  the  country  to  compensation  for  emancipa- 
tion, he  said: 

"  To  the  people  of  those  states  I  now  earnestly  appeal.  I  do  not 
argue — I  beseech  you  to  make  the  argument  for  yourselves.  You  can- 
not, if  you  would,  be  blind  to  the  signs  of  the  times.  I  beg  of  you  a 
calm  and  enlarged  consideration  of  them,  ranging,  if  it  may  be,  far 
above  personal  and  partisan  politics.  This  proposal  makes  common 
cause  for  a  common  object,  casting  no  reproaches  upon  any.  It  acts  not 
the  Pharisee.  The  changes  it  contemplates  would  come  gently  as  the 
dews  of  Heaven,  not  rending  nor  wrecking  anything.  Will  you  not  em- 
brace it?  So  much  good  has  not  been  done  by  one  effort  in  all  past 
time,  as,  in  the  providence  of  God,  it  is  now  your  high  privilege  to  do. 
May  tlie  vast  future  not  have  to  lament  that  you  have  neglected  it." 

Still  forbearing,  still  arguing,  still  beseeching,  Mr.  Lincoln 
stood  before  these  border-state  legislators,  for  whose  sake  he 

~  * 

was  suffering  sharp  reproach  in  the  house  of  his  best  friends; 
but  they  were  unmoved.  They  could  not  read  the  signs  of 


the  times.  Only  nine  of  the  twenty-nine  who  responded  gave 
words  of  friendliness  and  approval.  If,  since  then,  they  have 
found  themselves  and  their  friends  in  distress  through  the  de- 
struction of  their  property,  they  can  have  no  reproaches  to 
cast  upon  the  patient  man  who  so  faithfully  besought  them  to 
save  themselves  while  there  was  an  opportunity. 

Two  acts  were  passed  by  this  session  which  respectively 
called  out  a  message  from  the  President.  The  confiscation 
act,  to  which  allusion  has  already  been  made,  touched  a  sub- 
ject on  which  he  had  peculiar  views.  It  would  be  difficult  to 
express  in  the  English  language  the  basis  of  the  right  of 
Congress  to  free  the  slaves  of  rebels,  in  clearer  and  more 
unanswerable  tones  than  Mr.  Lincoln  used  when  he  wrote: 
"It  is  startling  to  say  that  Congress  can  free  a  slave  within  a 
state,  and  yet,  were  it  said  that  the  ownership  .of  the  slave 
had  first  been  transferred  to  the  nation,  and  that  Congress 
had  then  liberated  him,  the  difficulty  would  vanish ;  and  this 
is  the  real  case.  The  traitor  against  the  general  government 
forfeits  his  slave,  at  least  as  justly  as  he  does  any  other  prop- 
erty ;  and  he  forfeits  both  to  the  government  against  which 
he  offends.  The  government,  so  far  as  there  can  be  ownership, 
owns  the  forfeited  slaves ;  and  the  question  for  Congress,  in 
regard  to  them,  is, — Shall  they  be  made  free,  or  sold  to  new 
masters?  I  see  no  objection  to  Congress  deciding  in  advance 
that  they  should  be  free."  The  argument  of  a  whole  volume 
would  not  make  the  subject  clearer. 

The  other  act  abolished  slavery  in  the  District  of  Columbia , 
and  he  merely  pointed  out  an  oversight  in  the  bill,  expressing 
at  the  same  time  his  gratification  that  it  recognized  the  two 
principles  of  colonization  and  compensation.  It  must  have 
been  with  peculiar  satisfaction  that  he  thus  completed  a  work 
which  he  began  while  he  was  a  member  of  Congress  himself, 
many  years  before. 

Late  in  the  session,  Mr.  Lincoln  sent  to  Congress  the  draft 

of  a  bill  for  the  compensation  of  any  state  that  might  abolish 

slavery  within  its  limits ;  which,  although  it  was  referred  to  a 

committee,  was  not  acted  upon,  as  there  appeared  no  disposi- 



tion  on  the  part  of  the  border  states  to  respond  to  the  action 
which  Congress  had  already  taken. 

Meantime,  and  especially  after  the  enactment  of  the  con- 
fiscation bill,  presses  and  people  maintained  their  clamor  for  a 
sweeping  proclamation  of  emancipation.  The  clamor  took  a  di- 
rect and  definite  form  in  a  letter  addressed  by  Horace  Greeley, 
through  the  $ew  York  Tribune.  The  letter  was  severe  in  its 
terms,  and  intemperate  in  spirit.  Any  President  who  had  oc- 
cupied the  office  previous  to  Mr.  Lincoln,  would  have  passed 
over  such  a  letter  in  silence,  however  much  it  might  have  an- 
noyed or  pained  him.  Mr.  Lincoln,  however,  never  thought 
of  his.  dignity,  and  saw  no  reason  why  the  President  of  the 
United  States  should  not  appear  in  a  newspaper,  as  well  as 
other  men.  He  accordingly  replied  to  Mr.  Greeley,  under 
date  of  August  twenty-second,  in  a  letter  which,  for  concise- 
ness and  lucidity,  may  well  be  regarded  as  a  model,  whether 
the  position  assumed  in  it  was  sound  or  otherwise.  Mr.  Lin- 
coln wrote  as  follows: 

"Hon.  Horace  Greeley,  Dear  Sir:  I  have  just  read  yours  of  the 
nineteenth  instant,  addressed  to  myself  through  the  New  York  Tribune. 

"If  there  be  in  it  any  statements  or  assumptions  of  fact  which  I  may 
know  to  be  erroneous,  I  do  not  now  and  here  controvert  them. 

"If  there  be  any  inferences  which  I  may  believe  to  be  falsely  drawn, 
I  do  not  now  and  here  argue  against  them. 

"If  there  be  perceptible  in  it  an  impatient  and  dictatorial  tone,  I 
waive  it  in  deference  to  an  old  friend  whose  heart  I  have  always  sup- 
posed to  be  right. 

"  As  to  the  policy  I '  seem  to  be  pursuing,'  as  you  say,  I  have  not 
meant  to  leave  any  one  in  doubt.  I  would  save  the  Union.  I  would 
save  it  in  the  shortest  way  under  the  Constitution. 

"  The  sooner  the  national  authority  can  be  restored,  the  nearer  the 
Union  will  be — the  Union  as  it  was. 

"If  there  be  those  who  would  not  save  the  Union  unless  they  could 
at  the  same  time  save  slavery,  I  do  not  agree  with  them. 

"  If  there  be  those  who  would  not  save  the  Union  unless  they  could 
at  the  same  time  destroy  slavery,  I  do  not  agree  with  them. 

"My  paramount  object  is  to  save  the  Union,  and  not  either  to  save  or 
destroy  slavery. 

"  If  I  could  save  the  Union  without  freeing  any  slave,  I  would  do 
it;  if  I  could  save  it  by  freeing  all  the  slaves,  I  would  do  it;  and  if  I 


could  do  it  by  freeing  some  and  leaving  others  alone,  I  would  also  do 

"  What  I  do  about  slavery  and  the  colored  race,  I  do  because  I  be- 
lieve it  helps  to  save  this  Union ;  and  what  I  forbear,  I  forbear  because 
I  do  not  believe  it  would  help  to  save  the  Union. 

"  I  shall  do  less  whenever  I  shall  believe  what  I  am  doing  hurts  the 
cause,  and  I  shall  do  more  whenever  I  believe  doing  more  will  help  the 

"I  shall  try  to  correct  errors  when  shown  to  be  errors,  and  I  shall 
adopt  new  views  so  fast  as  they  shall  appear  to  be  true  views. 

"I  have  here  stated  my  purpose  according  to  my  views  of  official 
duty,  and  I  intend  no  modification  of  my  oft-expressed  personal  wish 
that  all  men  everywhere  could  be  free. 

"Yours,  A.  LINCOLN." 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  anxious  to  take  no  steps  which  he  should 
be  obliged  to  retrace  through  the  lack  of  popular  support, 
and  at  this  time  he  was  carefully  measuring  the  public  opinion 
on  the  subject  of  emancipation.  A  part  of  the  preliminary 
work  he  had  accomplished.  He  had  performed  with  the  ten- 
derest  and  most  assiduous  fidelity  all  his  duty  toward  the  bor- 
der slave  states.  He  had  warned  them,  besought  them,  ad- 
vised them,  to  get  -out  of  the  way  of  an  event  which  he  felt 
certain  would  come.  He  knew  that  the  institution  of  slavery 
would  not  be  worth  a  straw,  in  any  state,  after  it  should  be 
destroyed  in  the  rebel  states.  But  they  turned  a  deaf  ear  to 
his  warnings  and  entreaties ;  and  in  this  manner,  if  not  in  the 
manner  desired,  took  themselves  out  of  his  way. 

His  letter  to  Horace  Greeley  was,  without  doubt,  intended 
to  prepare  the  mind  of  the  country  for  emancipation,  and  to 
exhibit  the  principles  and  exigencies  by  which  he  should  be 
controlled  in  proclaiming  it.  He  was  clearing  away  obstacles, 
and  preparing  his  ground;  and,  in  connection  with  events 
which  wait  for  record,  the  time  for  action  came  at  last. 

Mr.  Cameron  was  not  very  successful  in  the  administration 
of  the  affairs  of  his  bureau.  It  is  no  derogation  to  his  ability 
as  a  statesman  to  say  that,  for  the  discharge  of  the  duties  of  the 
war  office,  at  the  time  he  occupied  it,  he  had  no  eminent  fit- 
ness. It  was  not  the  office  he  would  have  chosen  for  himself. 
He  had  immense  and  almost  countless  contracts  at  his  dis- 
posal, and  could  give  to  them  but  little  personal  care.  That 


he  was  overreached,  under  the  circumstances,  was  almost  a 
matter  of  course,  and  many  of  his  contracts  were  very  bad 
ones.  Congress,  after  his  resignation,  censured  him  for  his 
loose  way  of  doing  business,  in  intrusting  Alexander  Cum- 
mings  of  Xew  York  with  the  expenditure  of  large  sums  of 
money  without  restriction;  but  Mr.  Lincoln,  by  a  special 
message,  assumed  all  the  responsibility  of  Mr.  Cummings' 
appointment  to  this  duty  and  responsibility.  Mr.  Cameron 
resigned  his  position  on  the  llth  of  January,  1862;  and  Mr. 
Lincoln  showed  what  he  thought  of  the  charges  of  fraud 
against  him,  by  appointing  him  minister  to  Russia.  Never- 
theless, it  was  to  be  said  of  him  that  Mr.  Chase  found  it  difficult 
to  raise  money  while  he  remained  to  make  contracts.  He  re- 
signed while  the  House  was  busy  with  overhauling  his  affairs ; 
and  it  occurred  that  he  sent  in  his  resignation  on  the  same  day 
on  which  Mr.  Dawes  of  Massachusetts  was  making  a  power- 
ful speech  against  him,  and  on  which  the  special  committee 
on  government  contracts  made  a  report  severely  condemning 
his  operations. 

Mr.  Lincoln  appointed  Edwin  M.  Stanton  of  Ohio  to  the 
office  thus  vacated.  Mr.  Stanton  was  a  democrat,  and  had 
been  a  member  of  Mr.  Buchanan's  cabinet — was,  indeed,  the 
first  one  in  that  cabinet  to  protest  against  the  downright  trea- 
son into  w.hich  it  was  drifting.  He  was  a  man  of  indomitable 
energy,  devoted  loyalty  and  thorough  honesty.  Contractors 
could  not  manipulate  him,  and  traitors  could  not  deceive  him. 
Impulsive,  perhaps,  but  true ;  willful,  it  is  possible,  but  placa- 
ble; impatient,  but  persistent  and  efficient, — he  became,  at 
once,  one  of  the  most  marked  and  important  of  the  members  of 
the  cabinet.  Mr.  Lincoln  loved  him  and  believed  in  him  from 
first  to  last.  When  inquired  of  concerning  the  reasons  for 
his  appointment,  Mr.  Lincoln  said  he  rather  wished,  at  first, 
to  appoint  a  man  from  one  of  the  border  states,  but  he  knew 
the  New  England  people  would  object;  and  then,  again,  it 
would  have  given  him  great  satisfaction  to  appoint  a  man 
from  Xew  England,  but  that  would  displease  the  border  states. 
On  the  whole,  he  thought  he  had  better  take  a  man  from  some 

7  O 

intervening  territory ;  "  and,  to  tell  you  the  truth,  gentlemen," 


said  he,  "I  don't  believe  Stanton  knows  where  he  belongs 
himself."  The  gentlemen  proceeding  to  discuss  Mr.  Stanton's 
impulsiveness,  Mr.  Lincoln  said:  " "Well,  we  may  have  to  treat 
him  as  they  are  sometimes  obliged  to  treat  a  Methodist  min- 
ister I  know  of  out  west.  He  gets  wrought  up  to  so  high  a 
pitch  of  excitement  in  his  prayers  and  exhortations,  that  they 
are  obliged  to  put  bricks  into  his  pockets  to  keep  him  down. 
We  may  be  obliged  to  serve  Stanton  the  same  way,  but  I 
guess  we  '11  let  him  jump  awhile  first." 

The  country  has  sometimes  thought  the  time  for  bricks  had 
come;  but,  on  the  whole,  the  leaders  of  the  rebellion  have 
had  greatest  cause  of  complaint.  Mr.  Stanton's  place  in  his- 
tory will  be  a  proud  one. 

Malcontents,  who  felt  that  everything  went  wrong  because 
there  was  something  wrong  in  the  cabinet,  were  much  en- 
couraged by  the  change  that  had  been  made,  and  personally 
and  by  letter  urged  Mr.  Lincoln  to  make  further  changes. 
A  number  of  them  called  upon  him  to  insist  on  changes  that 
they  considered  absolutely  necessary.  Mr.  Lincoln  heard 
them  through,  and  then,  with  his  peculiar  smile,  said,  "  Gen- 
tlemen, the  case  reminds  me  of  a  story  of  an  old  friend  of 
mine  out  in  Illinois.  His  homestead  was  very  much  infested 
with  those  little  black  and  white  animals  that  we  needn't  call 
by  name ;  and,  after  losing  his  patience  with  them,  he  deter- 
mined to  sally  out  and  inflict  upon  them  a  general  slaughter. 
He  took  gun,  clubs  and  dogs,  and  at  it  he  went,  but  stopped 
after  killing  one,  and  returned  home.  When  his  neighbors 
asked  him  why  he  had  not  fulfilled  his  threat  of  killing  all 
there  were  on  his  place,  he  replied  that  his  experience  with 
the  one  he  had  killed  was  such  that  he  thought  he  had  better 
stop  where  he  was." 

This  story  was  told  with  no  disrespect  to  Mr.  Cameron,  or 
to  the  other  members  of  his  cabinet,  for  he  honored  them  all;  was  told  to  get  rid  of  his  troublesome  advisers.  They 
went  away  forgetting  that  they  had  failed  to  make  any  im- 
pression on  the  President — forgetting  that  they  had  failed  in 
their  errand  utterly — and  laughing  over  the  story  by  which 
the  President  had  dismissed  them. 


A  CIVILIAN,  ignorant  of  the  art  of  war,  can  only  judge  a 
military  man  by  what  he  accomplishes  in  the  long  run  by  his 
policy  and  action ;  and  it  is  difficult  for  suoh  a  judge  to  per- 
ceive what  General  McClellan  accomplished,  with  his  magnifi- 
cent army  of  a  hundred  and  sixty  thousand  as  good  soldiers 
as  ever  the  sun  shone  upon — well  drilled,  well  fed,  well  clothed 
and  well  armed — but  to  scatter  and  wear  out  that  army,  vol- 
unteer general  advice  to  a  government  that  was  presumed  to 
be  competent  to  the  management  of  its  own  affairs,  and  win 
the  doubtful  honor  of  becoming  the  favorite  of  men  who, 
from  the  first,  opposed  the  war,  and  threw  all  possible  obsta- 
cles in  the  way  of  its  successful  prosecution.  The  whole  his- 
tory of  McClellan's  operations  is  a  history  of  magnificent 
preparations  and  promises,  of  fatal  hesitations  and  procrasti- 
nations, of  clamoring  for  more  preparations,  and  justifications 
of  hesitations  and  procrastinations,  of  government  indulgence 
and  forbearance,  of  military  intrigues  within  the  camp,  of 
popular  impatience  and  alarms,  and  of  the  waste  of  great 
means  and  golden  opportunities.  Even  the  opportunity  of 
becoming;  "the  hero  of  Antietam"  came  to  General  McClellan 


through  his  culpable  remissness  in  permitting  the  enemy  to 
cross  the  Potomac ;  and  this  victory  lost  all  its  value  by  his 
failure  to  gather  its  fruits.  , 

When  General  McClellan  assumed  command,  he  found 
waiting  for  him  fifty  thousand  men,  more  or  less,  in  and 
around  Washington.  He  assumed  command  during  the  last 
days  of  July ;  and,  within  a  period  of  less  than  three  months, 


that  army  was  raised  to  a  force  of  more  than  a  hundred  and 
fifty  thousand  men,  with  five  hundred  pieces  of  artillery. 
The  people  gave  him  more  men  than  any  one  commander  was 
ever  known  to  handle  effectively  in  the  field ;  and  the  govern- 
ment lavishly  bestowed  upon  his  army  all  the  material  of  war. 
The  unfortunate  matter  of  Ball's  Bluff,  which  occurred  on  the 
twenty-second  of  October,  has  already  found  record.  This 
was  the  first  return  for  the  fresh  means  that  the  government 
•had  placed  at  the  commanding  General's  disposal.  The  Po- 
tomac was  blockaded  by  a  small  force  of  rebels,  and  both  the 
President  and  Secretary  of  War  felt  that  there  was  no  neces- 
sity for  permitting  this  vexatious  and  humiliating  blockade  to 
continue.  They  tried  to  induce  McClellan  to  aid  in  this  busi- 
ness ;  and,  at  one  time  in  October,  he  agreed  to  send  four 
thousand  men  to  co-operate  with  a  naval  force  for  this  pur- 
pose; but  he  falsified  his  promise,  on  the  ground  that  his 
engineers  told  him  that  so  large  a  force  could  not  be  landed. 
It  did  not  matter  that  the  department  assumed  the  responsi- 
bility of  landing  the  troops.  It  did  not  matter,  even,  that  he 
made  another  promise  to  send  the  troops.  They  were  never 
sent,  the  second  refusal  being  based  upon  his  fear  of  bringing 
on  a  general  engagement,  which  was  exactly  what  ought  to 
have  been  brought  on.  Captain  Craven  of  the  navy,  with 
whom  these  troops  were  to  co-operate,  threw  up  his  command 
in  disgust,  and  the  rebels  never  were  driven  away  from  the 
Potomac.  They  kept  this  grand  highway  closed  until  the 
following  spring,  and  then  retired  of  their  own  accord,  and  at 

The  confidence  in  General  McClellan  on  the  part  of  the 
government  and  the  country  generally  was  at  this  time  un- 
bounded ;  and  he  could  not  appear  among  his  soldiers  without 
such  demonstrations  of  enthusiastic  affection  as  few  command- 
ers have  ever  received.  On  the  first  of  November  he  succeeded 
General  Scott  in  the  command  of  all  the  armies  of  the  Union, 
still  retaining  personal  command  of  the  Army  of  the  Potomac ; 
but  he  seemed  to  be  unable  to  move.  Cautious,  hesitatino-, 


always  finding  fresh  obstacles  to  a  movement,  he  permitted 


the  golden  days  of  autumn  to  pass  away.  In  the  meantime, 
the  government  was  urging  him  to  do  something,  as  the  rebel 
forces  were  massing  in  his  front,  and  the  country  was  clamorous 
for  action.  Instead  of  holding  the  commanding  General  re- 
sponsible for  these  delays,  the  country  blamed  the  govern- 
ment, and  manifested  its  dissatisfaction  by  its  votes  in  the  fall 

All  that  autumn  passed  away,  and  not  a  blow  was  struck. 
The  Potomac  was  closed  to  government  war  vessels  and  trans- 
ports, by  a  few  batteries  which  the  over-cautious  General  was 
afraid  to  touch. 

Mr.  Lincoln  was  determined  to  break  the  spell  which 
seemed  to  hold  the  General's  mind ;  and,  on  the  twenty-seventh 
of  January,  he  issued  an  order  that  on  the  twenty-second  day 
of  February,  1862,  there  should  be  a  general  movement  of 
the  land  and  naval  forces  of  the  United  States,  against  the 
insurgent  armies — especially  the  army  at  and  about  Fortress 
Monroe,  the  army  of  the  Potomac,  the  army  of  Western  Vir- 
ginia, the  army  near  Mumfordsville,  Kentucky,  the  army  and 
flotilla  at  Cairo,  and  a  naval  force  in  the  gulf  of  Mexico.  He 
further  declared  "that  the  heads  of  departments,  and  espec- 
ially the  Secretaries  of  War  and  of  the  Navy,  with  all  their 
subordinates,  and  the  General-in-Chief  with  all  other  com- 
manders and  subordinates  of  land  and  naval  forces,  will  sev- 
erally be  held  to  their  strict  and  full  responsibilities  for  prompt 
execution  of  this  order."  On  the  thirty-first  of  January — 
four  days  afterward — he  issued  another  order,  specially  to  the 
army  of  the  Potomac,  to  engage,  on  or  before  the  twenty- 
second  of  February,  in  the  attempt  to  seize  npon  and  occupy 
a  point  upon  the  railroad  southrwest  of  Manassas  Junction, 
the  details  of  the  movement  to  be  in  the  hands  of  the  Com- 

To  this  last  order  of  the  President,  General  McClcllan  re- 
plied in  a  long  letter  to  the  Secretary  of  War.  He  objected 
to  the  President's  plan,  that  the  roads  would  be  bad  at  the 
season  proposed  ;  and  wished  to  substitute  a  plan  of  his  own, 
which  had  in  its  favor  a  better  soil  for  the  moving  of  troops. 


He  wished  to  move  by  the  Lower  Rappahannock,  making 
Urbana  his  base.  He  would  throw  upon  the  new  line  from  one 
hundred  and  ten  thousand  to  one  hundred  and  forty  thousand 
troops,  according  to  circumstances,  hoping  to  use  the  latter 
number,  by  bringing  such  frerh.  troops  into  Washington  as 
would  protect  the  capital.  He  "respectfully  but  firmly"  ad- 
vised that  he  might  be  permitted  to  make  this  substitution  of 
his  own  for  the  President's  plan.  So  firm  was  he  that  he  was 
willing  to  say :  "  I  will  stake  my  life,  my  reputation,  on  the 
result, — more  than  that,  I  will  stake  on  it  the  success  of  our 
cause."  His  judgment,  he  declared,  was  against  the  move- 
ment on  Manassas.  On  the  third  of  February,  Mr.  Lincoln 
addressed  a  note  to  the  General  on  this  difference  of  opinion, 
which  ought  to  have  shown  him  that  his  superior  was  a  com- 
petent adviser  and  a  keen  critic : 

"My  dear  Sir: — You  and  I  have  distinct  and  different  plans  for  a 
movement  of  the  army  of  the  Potomac;  yours  to  be  done  by  the  Chesa- 
peake, up  the  Rappahannock,  to  Urbana,  and  across  land  to  the  termi- 
nus of  the  railroad  on  the  York  River;  mine  to  move  directly  to  a 
point  on  the  railroad  south-west  of  Manassas.  If  you  will  give  satis- 
factory answers  to  the  following  questions,  I  shall  gladly  yield  my  plans 
to  yours : 

"  1.  Does  not  your  plan  involve  a  greatly  larger  expenditure  of 
time  and  money  than  mine  ? 

"  2.     Wherein  is  a  victory  more  certain  by  your  plan  than  mine  ? 

"  3.     Wherein  is  a  victory  more  valuable  by  your  plan  than  mine  ? 

"  4.  In  fact,  would  it  not  be  less  valuable*  in  this :  that  it  would  break 
no  great  line  of  the  enemy's  communications,  while  mine  would? 

"5.  In  case  of  disaster,  would  not  a  retreat  be  more  difficult  by 
your  plan  than  mine  ?  " 

General  McClellan  replied  to  this  through  the  Secretary  of 
War,  after  his  fashion ;  but  the  President  was  not  convinced, 
and  finally  agreed  to  submit  the  two  plans  to  a  council  of 
twelve  officers.  This  council,  eight  to  four,  decided  in  favor 
of  the  General's  plan.  The  President  acquiesced ;  but  the 
rebels  rendered  both  plans  useless  by  withdrawing  from  Ma- 
nassas on  the  ninth  of  March  to  the  other  side  of  the  Rappa- 


hannock — which  date  will  be  seen  to  be  two  weeks  later 
than  the  date  fixed  for  the  advance  of  all  the  armies  by  the 

On  the  eighth  of  March,  the  President  ordered  General 
McClellan  to  organize  that  part  of  his  army  which  he  pro- 
posed to  engage  in  active  operations,  into  four  Army  Corps,  to 
be  commanded  respectively  by  General  McDowell,  General 
Sumner,  General  Heintzelman  and  General  Keyes;  and  di- 
rected the  order  to  be  executed  with  such  dispatch  as  not  to 
delay  operations  already  determined  on — alluding  to  the  move- 
ment by  the  Chesapeake  and  Rappahannock.  On  the  same 
day,  he  issued  another  order :  that  no  change  of  base  should 
take  place  without  leaving  in  and  about  Washington  such  an 
army  as  should  make  the  city  secure ;  that  no  more  than  two 
army  corps  should  move  before  the  Potomac  should  be  cleared 
of  rebel  batteries;  and  that  the  movement  should  begin  as 
early  as  the  eighteenth  of  March. 

On  the  next  day,  as  has  already  been  stated,  the  enemy  re- 
tired unsuspected  and  undisturbed  from  his  defenses ;  and  then 
General  McClellan  moved  forward,  not  to  pursue,  according 
to  his  own  authority,  but  to  give  his  troops  some  exercise,  and 
a  taste  of  the  march  and  bivouac,  before  more  active  opera- 
tions. On  the  fifteenth,  the  army  mqyed  back  to  Alexandria. 

On  the  eleventh  of  March,  General  McClellan  was  relieved 
from  the  command  of  other  military  departments,  because  he 
had  personally  taken  the  field.  Major-General  Halleck  re- 
ceived the  command  of  the  department  of  the  Mississippi,  and 
General  Fremont  that  of  the  mountain  department.  On  the 
thirteenth,  a  council  of  war  decided  that,  as  the  enemy  had 
retreated  behind  the  Rappahannock,  the  new  base  of  opera- 
tions should  be  Fortress  Monroe,  on  certain  conditions  which 
touched  the  neutralization  of  the  power  of  the  Merrimac,  (an 
iron  plated  rebel  vessel  which  had  already  destroyed  the  frig- 
ates Cumberland  and  Congress,  and  been  beaten  back  by  the 
Monitor,)  means  of  transportation,  and  naval  auxiliaries  suf- 
ficient to  silence  the  batteries  on  York  River.  On  the  same 
day,  Mr.  Stanton  wrote  to  General  McClellan,  stating  that  the 


President  saw  no  objection  to  the  plan,  lut  directing  that  such 
a  force  should  be  left  at  Manassas  Junction  as  would  make  it 
entirely  certain  that  the  enemy  should  not  repossess  it,  that 
Washington  should  be  left  secure,  and  that,  whatever  place 
might  be  chosen  as  the  new  base,  the  army  should  move  at 
once  in  pursuit  of  the  enemy,  by  some  route. 

The  President  was  impatient  for  action.  Not  a  blow  had 
been  struck.  Back  from  the  Potomac  blockade,  and  back 
from  Manassas,  the  enemy  had  been  permitted  to  retire  with- 
out the  loss  of  a  man  or  a  gun. 

On  the  thirty-first  of  March,  Mr.  Lincoln  ordered  Blenker's 
division  from  the  army  of  the  Potomac  to  join  General  Fre- 
mont, who  had  importuned  him  for  a  larger  force,  and  who 
was  supported  in  his  request  by  exacting  friends.  In  a  note  to 
General  McClellan,  he  said, — "I  write  this  to  assure  you  that 
I  did  so  with  great  pain,  understanding  that  you  would  wish  it 
otherwise.  If  you  could  know  the  full  pressure  of  the  case, 
I  am  confident  that  you  would  justify  it."  General  Banks, 
who  had  been  ordered  to  cover  Washington  by  occupying 
Manassas,  was  ordered  on  the  first  of  April  to  force  General 
Jackson  back  from  Winchester. 

Transportation  had  already  been  provided  by  the  War  De- 
partment for  moving  the  troops  to  any  new  base  that  might 
be  determined  on,  and  General  McClellan  was  not  obliged  to 
wait.  On  the  first  of  April,  there  were  under  his  command, 
by  the  official  report  of  the  Adjutant-general,  146,255  men  in 
the  four  corps,  with  regular  infantry  and  cavalry  and  other 
troops  to  raise  the  number  to  158,419.  In  all  the  orders 
given  by  the  President  concerning  the  movements  of  this  army, 
there  was  one  condition  that  he  insisted  upon,  viz,  that  troops 
should  be  left  sufficient  to  protect  Washington ;  and  by  General 
McClellan's  order  only  twenty  thousand  effective  men  were  to 
be  left  with  General  Wadsworth,  the  military  governor  of  the 
District.  The  force  was  much  smaller  than  was  necessary, 
according  to  General  McClellan's  previous  calculations ;  and 
General  Wadsworth  was  so  much  impressed  with  its  inade- 
quacy that  he  called  the  attention  of  the  war  department  to 


the  subject.  The  letter  was  referred  to  Adjutant-general 
Thomas  and  General  E.  A.  Hitchcock,  whose  decision  was 
embodied  in  the  words :  "  In  view  of  the  opinion  expressed  by 
the  council  of  the  commanders  of  army  corps,  of  the  force 
necessary  for  the  capital,  though  riot  numerically  stated,  and 
of  the  force  represented  by  General  McClellan  as  left  for 
that  purpose,  we  are  of  opinion  that  the  requirement  of  the 
President  that  this  city  shall  be  left  entirely  secure,  not  only 
in  the  opinion  of  the  General-Jn-chief,  but  that  of  the  com- 
manders of  all  the  army  corps  also,  has  not  been  fully  complied 
with."  In  the  meantime,  General  McClellan  had  gone  for- 
ward to  Fortress  Monroe,  and  all  but  two  corps  of  the  troops 
had  left  for  the  new  base.  When,  therefore,  Generals  Thomas 
and  Hitchcock  made  their  report,  and  the  President  saw  that 
Washington  was  about  to  be  left  without  sufficient  defense, 
he  directed  the  Secretary  of  War  to  order  that  one  of  the  two 
corps  not  then  embarked  should  remain  in  front  of  Washing- 
ton, and  that  the  other  corps  should  go  forward  as  speedily  as 
possible.  This  was  under  date  of  April  third.  The  first 
corps,  under  General  McDowell,  was  designated  for  this  pro- 
tecti^e  service,  numbering  88,454  men.  Two  new  military 
departments  were  at  once  erected — the  Department  of  the 
Rappahannock,  under  General  McDowell,  and  the  Depart- 
ment of  the  Shenandoah,  lying  between  the  mountain  depart- 
ment and  the  Blue  Ridge,  under  General  Banks. 

General  McClellan  pushed  a  portion  of  his  troops  toward 
Yorktown  at  once — toward  a  line  of  intrenchments  held  by 
the  enemy,  stretching  across  the  Peninsula.  On  the  fifth  of 
April  he  wrote  to  the  President,  dating  his  letter  "  Near  York- 
town,"  and  stating  that  the  enemy  were  in  large  force  in  his 
front,  and  that  they  apparently  intended  to  make  a  determined 
resistance.  At  that  time,  the  rebel  force  at  that  point,  accord- 
ing to  subsequent  reports  by  the  rebels  themselves,  did  not 
exceed  ten  thousand  men.  Xo  one  doubts  now  that  General 
McClellan' s  cautiousness  betrayed  his  judgment,  and  that  a 
strong  and  well-directed  attack  would  have  swept  the  rebels 
out  of  their  works. 


In  this  letter,  he  began  his  long-continued  complaint  of  in- 
adequate force.'  lie  begged  the  President  to  reconsider  his 
order  detaching  the  first  corps  from  his  command,  as  it  was 
his  opinion  that  he  should  have  to  fight  all  the  available  force 
of  the  rebels,  not  far  from  the  place  where  he  was  writing. 
If  he  could  not  have  the  whole  corps,  he  begged  for  Franklin 
and  his  division.  On  the  sixth,  Air.  Stanton  replied  that  Sum- 
ner's  troops  were  on  the  way  to  him,  that  Franklin's  division 
was  on  the  advance  to  Manassas,  and  that  there  were  no  means 
of  transportation  to  send  it  forward  in  time  for  service  in  his 
operations.  "All  in  the  power  of  the  government,"  added 
the  Secretary,  "  shall  be  done  to  sustain  you,  as  occasion  may 

Another  day  passed  away;  and,  on  the  date  of  Mr.  Stan- 
ton's  dispatch,  General  McClellan  wrote  again,  begging  for 
Franklin's  division,  complaining  that  he  had  no  sufficient 
transportation,  and  stating  that  the  order  forming  new  depart- 
ments deprived  him  of  the  power  of  ordering  up  wagons  and 
troops,  absolutely  necessary  for  his  advance  on  Richmond. 
He  requested  that  the  material  he  had  prepared  and  necessarily 
left  behind,  with  wagon  trains,  ammunition,  and  Woodbury's 
brigade,  might  be  subject  to  his  order.  Mr.  Lincoln  immedi- 
ately telegraphed  him  that  his  order  for  forwarding  what  he 
had  demanded,  including  Woodbury's  brigade,  was  not,  and 
would  not  be  interfered  with,  informing  him  at  the  same  time 
that  he  had  then  more  than  one  hundred  thousand  troops  with 
him,  independent  of  those  under  General  Wool's  command. 
Mr.  Lincoln  closed  his  dispatch  with  the  words:  "I  think 
you  had  better  break  the  enemy's  line  from  Yorktown  to 
Warwick  River  at  once.  They  will  probably  use  time  as  ad- 
vantageously as  you  can." 

Mr.  Lincoln,  like  the  whole  country,  was  convinced  that 
there  was  no  such  force  behind  those  works  as  the  fears  of  the 
General  had  counted  there;  and  it  is  now  humiliating  to  learn 
from  the  official  report  of  the  rebel  commander  Magruder, 
that,  "  with  five  thousand  men,  exclusive  of  the  garrisons,  we 
(they)  stopped  and  held  in  check  over  one  hundred  thousand 


of  the  enemy."  At  Gloucester,  Yorktown  and  Mulberry  Is- 
land, he  was  obliged  to  put  garrisons  amounting  to  six  thou- 
sand men,  and  he  had  only  five  thousand  men  left  to  defend 
a  line  of  thirteen  mile?.  With  a  hundred  thousand  men  at 
his  back,  General  McClellan  went  to  work  with  shovels  to 
begin  a  regular  siege.  On  the  ninth  of  April,  Mr.  Lincoln 
wrote  him  a  letter  which  is  so  full  of  wise  counsel,  kind  criti- 
cism, and  personal  good- will,  that  it  deserves  record  here : 

"My  Dear  Sir — Your  dispatches,  complaining  that  you  are  not  prop- 
erly sustained,  while  they  do  not  offend  me,  do  pain  me  very  much. 

"  Blenker's  division  was  withdrawn  from  you  before  you  left  here ;  and 
you  "know  the  pressure  under  which  I  did  it,  and,  as  I  thought,  acqui- 
esced in  it — certainly  not  without  reluctance. 

"  After  you  left,  I  ascertained  that  less  than  twenty  thousand  unor- 
ganized men,  without  a  single  field  battery,  were  all  you  designed  to  be 
left  for  the  defence  of  Washington  and  Manassas  Junction ;  and  part  of 
this  even  was  to  go  to  General  Hooker's  old  position.  General  Banks' 
corps,  once  designed  for  Manassas  Junction,  was  diverted  and  tied  up 
on  the  line  of  Winchester  and  Strasburg,  and  could  not  leave  it  without 
again  exposing  the  upper  Potomac  and  the  Baltimore  and  Ohio  Rail- 
road. This  presented,  or  would  present,  when  McDowell  and  Sumner 
should  be  gone,  a  great  temptation  to  the  enemy  to  turn  back  from  the 
Rappahannock  and  sack  Washington.  My  implicit  order  that  Washing- 
ton should,  by  the  judgment  of  all  the  commanders  of  army  corps,  be 
left  entirely  secure,  had  been  neglected.  It  was  precisely  this  that 
drove  me  to' detain  McDowell. 

"  I  do  not  forget  that  I  was  satisfied  with  your  arrangement  to  leave 
Banks  at  Manassas  Junction :  but,  when  that  arrangement  was  broken 
•up,  and  nothing  was  substituted  for  it,  of  course  I  was  constrained  to 
substitute  something  for  it  myself.  And  allow  me  to  ask,  do  you  really 
think  I  should  permit  the  line  from  Richmond,  via  Manassas  Junction, 
to  this  city,  to  be  entirely  open,  except  what  resistance  could  be  pre- 
sented by  less  than  twenty  thousand  unorganized  troops?  This  is  a 
question  which  the  country  will  not  allow  me  to  evade. 

"  There  is  a  curious  mystery  about  the  number  of  troops  now  with 
you.  When  I  telegraphed  you  on  the  sixth,  saying  you  had  over  a 
hundred  thousand  with  you,  I  had  just  obtained  from  the  Secretary  of 
War  a  statement  taken,  as  he  said,  from  your  own  returns,  making  one 
hundred  and  eight  thousand  then  with  you  and  en  route  to  you.  You 
now  say  you  will  have  but  eighty-five  thousand  when  all  en  route  to  you 
shall  have  reached  you.  How  can  the  discrepancy  of  twenty-three 
thousand  be  accounted  for? 


"As  to  General  Wool's  command,  I  understand  it  is  doing  for  you 
precisely  what  a  like  number  of  your  own  would  have  to  do  if  that 
command  was  away. 

"  I  suppose  the  whole  force  which  has  gone  forward  for  you  is  with 
you  by  this  time.  And,  if  so,  I  think  it  is  the  precise  time  for  you  to 
strike  a  blow.  By  delay,  the  enemy  will  relatively  gain  upon  you — 
that  is,  he  will  gain  faster  by  fortifications  and  reinforcements  than  you 
can  by  reinforcements  alone.  And  once  more  let  me  tell  you,  it  is  in- 
dispensable to  you  that  you  strike  a  blow.  I  am  powerless  to  help  this. 
You  will  do  me  the  justice  to  remember  I  always  insisted  that  going 
down  the  bay  in  search  of  a  field,  instead  of  fighting  at  or  near  Ma- 
nassas,  was  only  shifting,  and  not  surmounting,  a  difficulty;  that  we 
would  find  the  same  enemy,  and  the  same  or  equal  intrenchments,  at 
either  place.  The  country  will  not  fail  to  note — is  now  noting — that 
the  present  hesitation  to  move  upon  an  intrenched  enemy  is  but  the 
story  of  Manassas  repeated. 

"  I  beg  to  assure  you  that  I  have  never  written  to  you  or  spoken  to 
you  in  greater  kindness  of  feeling  than  now,  nor  with  a  fuller  purpose 
to  sustain  you,  so  far  as,  in  my  most  anxious  judgment,  I  consistently 
can.  But  you  must  act. 

Yours,  very  truly,  A.  LINCOLN. 

The  President  yielded  to  McClellan,  and  sent  General 
Franklin  to  him,  with  his  division;  and  General  McClellan 
thanked  him  for  his  kindness  and  consideration,  adding,  "I 
now  understand  the  matter  which  I  did  not  before."  Cer- 
tainly his  misunderstanding  of  the  matter  had  not  been  the 
result  of  any  lack  of  effort  on  the  part  of  the  President  to 
make  him  understand  it.  Through  the  whole  month  in  which 
the  great  army  lay  before  Yorktown,  the  President  and  War 
Department  were  fed  with  dispatches  of  the  most  encouraging 
character.  General  McClellan  was  leaving  nothing  undone 
to  enable  him  to  attack  without  delay;  after  receiving  rein- 
forcements, he  was  "confident  of  results;"  he  was  soon  to  be 
"at  them;"  there  was  to  be  "not  a  moment's  unnecessary 
delay;"  he  was  "getting  up  the  heavy  guns,  mortars  and 
ammunition  quite  rapidly;"  there  were  heavy  rains,  and  hor- 
rid roads,  but  he  was  "making  progress  all  the  time."  He 
was  making  progress  in  the  concentration  of  troops,  certainly, 
for,  on  the  thirtieth  of  April,  he  had,  by  Adjutant-general 


Townsend's  report,  130,378  men,  of  whom  112,392  were  reck- 
oned effective.  At  this  time,  he  called  upon  the  department 
for  Parrott  guns;  and,  on  the  first  of  May,  the  President' 
wrote  him:  "Your  call  for  Parrott  guns  from  Washington 
alarms  me — chiefly  because  it  argues  indefinite  procrastina- 
tion. Is  anything  to  be  done  ?" 

There  was  something  to  be  done,  but  the  enemy  did  it. 
After  the  absolute  waste  of  a  month's  time,  opportunities,  and 
resources  of  strength  and  material,  the  rebels  quietly  evacu- 
ated their  position,  and  retired  up  the  Peninsula.  It  was  the 
old  story  of  great  preparations  to  fight,  and  no  fighting — no 
weakening  of  the  enemy.  General  McClellan  thought  the 
success  brilliant,  if  we  may  judge  by  his  dispatches.  It  was 
the  costly  victory  of  an  engineer.  He  telegraphed  to  Mr. 
Stanton,  on  the  fourth,  that  he  held  the  entire  line  of  the  en- 
emy's works;  that  he  had  thrown  all  his  cavalry  and  horse 
artillery,  supported  by  infantry,  in  pursuit ;  that  no  time  should 
be  lost,  and  that  he  should  "push  the  enemy  to  the  wall." 
The  enemy  retired  to  his  second  line  of  works  at  Williams- 
burgh  without  pushing,  and  took  his  position  behind